ACC Men’s Soccer Coaches Select UNC as Preseason Favorite

With the college men’s soccer season set to begin late next week, the ACC released its annual preseason coaches poll on Wednesday–with UNC chosen to win the league this year.

The Tar Heels earned first place votes from five of the conference’s 12 head coaches, which was two more than runner-up Clemson.

Notre Dame picked up two votes for first place, while Wake Forest and Virginia each had one.

By virtue of being chosen to win the whole league, UNC was also the favorite to take home the Coastal Division crown.

Clemson, last season’s NCAA runner-up, was picked to win the Atlantic Division.

The ACC is looked at by many as the best conference in college soccer–as it led the NCAA with seven tournament teams in 2015, while also being the highest-rated league in the RPI rankings.

For 15 straight seasons, the ACC has also had at least one team qualify for the national semifinals.

UNC put together a solid 15-2-3 season last year, but had its season ended with a loss to the Creighton Blue Jays in the NCAA Round of 16.

The Tar Heels will again count on the production of 6-foot-5 forward Tucker Hume. A redshirt senior out of San Angelo, Texas, Hume led the team with 11 goals and five assists in 2015–which was more than any of his teammates had in either category.

Cal Poly will help get the season officially underway when they travel to Chapel Hill for the opening game on Friday, Aug. 26.

2016 ACC Men’s Soccer Preseason Coaches Poll
(First place votes)

Overall Champion
North Carolina (5)
Clemson (3)
Notre Dame (2)
Virginia (1)
Wake Forest (1)

Atlantic Division
1. Clemson (6) – 64
2. Wake Forest (6) – 62
3. Syracuse – 50
4. Boston College – 34
5. Louisville – 28
6. NC State – 14

Coastal Division
1. North Carolina (8) – 66
2. Notre Dame (4) – 62
3. Virginia – 50
4. Duke – 33
5. Pitt – 21
6. Virginia Tech – 20

UNC Men’s Soccer Exhibition Moved to Cary

The fall season is all set to begin for many of the different UNC sports teams.

For the No. 8 Tar Heel men’s soccer squad, the hype train was originally supposed to get started with a top 25 preseason showcase in Chapel Hill against the No. 24 South Carolina Gamecocks on Monday, Aug. 15.

Now, though, that game has been moved across the Triangle from Fetzer Field in Chapel Hill to Wakemed Soccer Park (Field No. 2) in Cary.

Admission will be free to everyone in attendance that night–with kickoff set for 7 p.m.

It will be the second of UNC’s three exhibition games before the regular season officially gets underway.

The Tar Heels will first travel to Rock Hill, South Carolina to play Winthrop on Friday, before closing out this portion of their schedule with a matchup at Davidson on Saturday Aug. 20.

UNC’s first regular season battle–and first game in Chapel Hill–takes place Friday, Aug. 26 against Cal Poly as part of the Carolina Nike Classic.

Saturday Allows Fans to Meet the Heels at Eddie Smith Fieldhouse

For UNC fans trying to make plans this weekend, look no further than the Eddie Smith Fieldhouse on campus.

There, you’ll be able to get up close and personal with some of your favorite Tar Heel players and coaches at the annual “Meet the Heels” event–which will take place Saturday between 4 and 6 p.m.

If that’s not enough, the get-together is also free of charge and boasts another great selling point in that there will be free parking available in six nearby campus locations.

Those places are: Stadium Drive, the Raleigh Road Visitors Lot, Boshamer Lot, Cobb Deck, School of Government Deck and the Bell Tower Deck.

The first hour of the event will allow fans to meet the men’s soccer team and get things signed by them, while also providing the chance to have pictures made with the two UNC mascots–Rameses and his little buddy RJ.

Following that, head football coach Larry Fedora and his team will be available during the second hour.

Autograph hounds should be forewarned, however, that the football session is limited to one signed item per person.

Activities such as balloon twisters and fun inflatables–as well as food trucks from places like Al’s Burger Shack and Backyard Bistro–will also be available.

The event will also come just one day after the Tar Heels–who face enormous expectations this season–officially open up their 2016 training camp.

UNC Men’s Soccer Spring Schedule Highlighted by Urso Memorial Match

The UNC men’s soccer spring schedule will be highlighted by a rematch of the 2011 national championship match against UNC Charlotte in the Kirk Urso Memorial Match.

Kirk Urso was a captain on the 2011 squad and led the Tar Heels to a national championship during his senior campaign in the game against the 49ers.

Urso went on to be chosen by the Columbus Crew with the number 10 overall pick in the 2012 MLS Supplemental Draft. Urso appeared in six games for the Crew in 2012 before getting injured. Urso then suddenly passed away at 22 years old from an Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy in August 2012.

The Crew then created the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund. And now the fund sponsors an annual grant focused on the prevention, diagnosis and/or treatment of cardiac heart defects and sudden cardiac death in youth in a partnership with The Children’s Heart Foundation.

A portion of all ticket sales, donations, merchandise sales, raffle and silent auction funds from the memorial match will go directly to the Kirk Urso Memorial Fund, according to the university.

Tickets to the Kirk Urso Memorial Match are $5 and will get patrons access to four games featuring High Point vs. Appalachian State at noon, UNCG vs. Campbell at 2:30, Wake Forest vs. Elon at five o’clock and, finally, North Carolina vs. Charlotte at 7:30 on Saturday, April 9. The game will be played at Macpherson Stadium in Browns Summit.

The spring schedule begins at 3:30 this Sunday afternoon against the Wilmington Hammerheads of the United Soccer League at the WRAL Soccer Complex in Raleigh.

UNC will take on South Carolina at three o’clock on April 2 at Manchester Meadows in Rock Hill, South Carolina, before finishing the spring slate in Richmond, Virginia, against Georgetown.

UNC Soccer Star Named ACC Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year

UNC senior defender Jonathan Campbell has been named the 2015 Atlantic Coast Conference Men’s Soccer Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the conference announced Tuesday.

Campbell started all 20 games for the Tar Heels in 2015 and scored one goal and accumulated four assists from his defense position.

Campbell was selected with the number 12 pick in the 2016 MLS SuperDraft by the Chicago Fire.

Campbell earned All-America honors for his play and for his performance in the classroom during his senior campaign for the Tar Heels.

This marked the fourth time Campbell, who graduated in December, was named to the All-ACC Academic Team. He is the only member of the team to receive the honor four times.

Carolina sophomore David October and freshman Alex Comsia were also named to Academic All-Conference team. It was the first selection for both.

Signing Day For UNC Men’s Soccer

Wednesday is National Signing Day for college football, but it is also signing day for men’s soccer.

The UNC Men’s Soccer team is announcing new Tar Heels on Twitter.

The day began with an announcement that Drew Murphy would be transferring from UC Santa Barbara.

The Tar Heels’ first high school signee is Drew Romig.  Romig comes to Chapel Hill from Midlothian, Virginia.  

 Then, Carolina added the 2015 NSCAA Youth National Player of the Year.  Cam Lindley joins the Tar Heels from Carmel, Indiana.

Jack Skahan will come from Memphis, Tennessee to join the Tar Heels.

Carolina then added local product Jeremy Kelly.  The Chapel Hill product played his high school soccer at Cardinal Gibbons.  His brother, Robert, plays for the UNC Men’s Tennis team.

 In 2015, the Tar Heels finished the season with a record of 15-2-3.  Three players from the team were selected in the top 12 picks of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft.

Three UNC Men’s Soccer Players Drafted in 1st Round

Three players from the UNC men’s soccer were selected in the top 12 picks of the Major League Soccer SuperDraft on Thursday.

Omar Holness was selected by Real Salt Lake with the fifth overall pick, followed by Jordan McCrary being picked by the New England Revolution at number 10 and Jonathan Campbell going at number 12 to the Chicago Fire.

Jordan McCrary. Photo via UNC.

Jordan McCrary. Photo via UNC.

This marked the first time in program history to UNC men’s soccer players were selected in the top 10 of the same SuperDraft.

Holness is the highest Tar Heel selected in the draft since Zach Loyd also was picked at number five by FC Dallas in 2010. Holness is the fourth UNC player chosen by Real Salt Lake since 2005.

Jonathan Campbell. Photo via UNC.

Jonathan Campbell. Photo via UNC.

McCrary is the second Tar Heel selected by the Revolution, and Campbell is the third Carolina player chosen by the Fire.

UNC has had 44 players drafted or as homegrown selections since 2000, according to the university.

Stroman On Sports: Too Many QBs, Not Enough Fans?

The Carolina football team is riding a three-game winning streak into ACC play, but all is not entirely well in Chapel Hill.

On the field, Mitch Trubisky’s record-breaking performance against Delaware is a bit of a double-edged sword, leaving Larry Fedora with a tougher decision about who will lead the Tar Heel offense. (Though for his part, Fedora insists there’s no quarterback controversy and Marquise Williams is still number one.)

Off the field, Kenan Stadium has seen remarkably low attendance for UNC’s early home games – not just against FCS opponents like Delaware, but also Power 5 opponents like Illinois.

Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deb Stroman discussed those issues and more with Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday.

Stroman On Sports: If God Is Not A Tar Heel

It was another good weekend for UNC athletics, as the Carolina men’s soccer, women’s soccer, field hockey and volleyball teams all posted impressive wins alongside the football team’s shellacking of Illinois. Meanwhile, the national headlines were abuzz with the latest flap between NFL quarterbacks Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers: Rodgers zinged Wilson’s penchant for praising God after wins after his Packers beat Wilson’s Seahawks.

(Not in the national headlines: the ongoing WNBA playoffs. Which raises its own set of questions.)

UNC Kenan-Flagler Business School professor and sports analyst Deborah Stroman joined Aaron Keck on WCHL Monday to talk about these issues.

Sweet Victory, Bitter Defeat Contrast for Tar Heels

There was plenty to offer on the Tar Heel sports menu over the weekend, and while it was a heartbreaking end of the road for one Carolina squad, it was the continuation of a national championship march for another.

***Listen to the story***

UNC soccer senior midfielder and Greensboro native Glen Long will remember Saturday night’s game for the rest of his life.

The Tar Heels’ NCAA Tournament fate rested on the strength of his leg and with the game and the season on the line, Long’s penalty kick was gobbled up by UCLA goalkeeper Earl Edwards Jr.

In the eighth round, the Bruins clinched the gut-wrenching home victory with another sprawling save by Edwards Jr. And just like that, UNC’s season came to a close with a 15-5-2 final record.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

For four impactful Tar Heels in particular, the loss will be even tougher to take. As seniors, their soccer careers at Carolina have now ended, including captain Boyd Okwuonu, goal scorers Tyler Engel and Andy Craven, and stingy goalkeeper Brendan Moore.

UNC  head coach Carlos Somoano will do well to replace such pivotal performers next season.

Meanwhile, the locker room was a happier place for the Tar Heels back on the east coast.

The UNC volleyball team continued its winning ways with a tough 3-1 win over Southern California inside Carmichael Arena Saturday evening. The Tar Heels have triumphed in a school record 19th straight contest.

Now Sweet Sixteen bound, head coach Joe Sagula says the 2nd round NCAA Tournament match was an outstanding showcase of top-notch volleyball.

“I want to congratulate our North Carolina program, as well as Southern California for a great match – what a great battle,” Coach Sagula says.

Carolina’s coach, now in his 25th season in Chapel Hill, lauds his strong stable of seniors for the perfect 16-0 season mark in the cozy confines of Carmichael Arena.

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

Photo courtesy of UNC Athletics

“This is why I have these four seniors with us here right now. This is significant for this program, what these four represent to us and what they done and how they’ve seen this program grow. Tonight was a special night for them and for this whole team,” Coach Sagula says.

Senior Lauren McAdoo says she’s proud of her team for overcoming obstacles and reaching for their lofty goals.

“It has been a goal since we got here to make it to the Sweet Sixteen. It shows the heart and fight of this team, through all adversity, to stick to our goal and fought through it together,” McAdoo says.

Senior classmate Ece Taner, who notched 24 digs and a service ace against the Trojans, says she’s enjoying every moment of the historic season, but is also excited for the road that lies ahead.

“We want it as a senior class to be able to play a really tough team. We’re glad that we played a team and are really excited. It’s hard to describe how special this feeling is. We’re ready to play more,” Taner says.

Next up for the surging Tar Heels is a Sweet Sixteen showdown with tenth-seeded Oregon Friday in the Sports Pavilion in Minneapolis.