|Summer of Discoveries SC for Charlotte 49ers teammates|
|Players join forces to improve in offseason|
|Published Friday, May 24, 2019 1:53 pm|
|PHOTO | SAM ROBERTS|
|Patrick Hogan, center, is one of four Charlotte 49ers players with USL2 side Discoveries SC over the summer.|
MATTHEWS—Four Charlotte 49ers did not have to go far to play offseason soccer together.
Discoveries SC opened the USL2 – previously PDL – season with a 0-0 draw at the Sportsplex at Matthews against the Charlotte Eagles. Charlotte defenders Patrick Hogan and Chance Pellerin, midfielder Hunter Omli and forward MacLean Holbrook were featured in the starting lineup.
“Hogan at the back is a rock,” said Discoveries SC coach Dave Carton. “MacLean up front, really like the way he is able to hold the ball up and bring others into the game. Hunter’s got a great engine. He’s got a bright future. Chance has just got quality. That boy has got a left foot that I’ve not seen in a long time. It’s going to be interesting to watch all four and see how far they can go in the game.”
The 49ers initially connected with the Discoveries coach Nathan Williams, who has since left the club. Despite the shift and the team’s location in Fort Mill, South Carolina, the proximity to campus made the choice appealing.
“We all wanted to play PDL close,” Hogan said. “There are not many teams that are close around Charlotte. We knew the coach coming in. He actually ended up moving to a different team, but we connected through him.”
Said Holbrook: “We just wanted play during the summer—keep fit, be ready for the fall.”
Holbrook and Hogan saw a lot of time during the 49ers’ 14-5-2 campaign last fall. Hogan, a sophomore, stood second in scoring with five goals and accumulated the third-most minutes behind goalkeeper Elliot Panicco and defender Callum Montgomery, starting every game. Holbrook, a junior, scored three goals in 15 starts along with three assists. However, redshirt freshmen Omli and Pellerin are still trying to make their mark with the 49ers. Omli finished last season with one assist in 12 games. Pellerin saw action in two games.
“It’s good to just over the summer get minutes and play and prepare for the fall,” Omli said. “This was our first time all playing together. It was our first time all playing together. It was good to get a point out of it. It was the first [USL2] Discoveries game ever.”
Said Pellerin: “I was a latecomer, but I was looking for somewhere to play over the summer and I asked my coach if he could help me out, and he put me on with Discoveries.”
With offseason shifts in personnel, the 49ers will have a crack at the starting lineup come August, particularly in the absence of key starters Montgomery, leading scorer Daniel Bruce and Tommy Madden. Montgomery was drafted fourth overall in the MLS SuperDraft by FC Dallas. Bruce and Madden signed USL Championship contracts with expansion side New Mexico United.
“We have a young team, we lost some starters, but it gives a good opportunity for the young guys to come up, get some core playing time,” said Hogan, a Charlotte Catholic alumnus.
Said Holbrook: “Tommy, Callum and all of them were really great leaders and really good on the field, but we have a good core and good group. We like each other, which is the best thing. Times get tough, we rely on each other. We’ll get a lot of good results this year.”
Pellerin joined Charlotte with an ACL injury, which required a year of rehab.
“In the spring, he got to play lots of minutes,” 49ers coach Kevin Langan said. “He’s a very powerful, very, very quick, dynamic left-sided player. He’s suited to that wide left positon.”
For Omli, it’s about establishing himself at the collegiate level.
“He’s a wonderfully gifted two-footed player,” Langan said. “For him, it’s just really getting down both sides of the ball as a midfielder for us, and just the style of play we like to play. Both of them are going to see more and more minutes with their journey through us as they go from class to class, and start to add more layers to their game.”
The four 49ers playing with Discoveries will commute to campus for work with Charlotte staff throughout the break.
“We have an agreement with Discoveries that they will play one game a week, and the reason for that is they can really get quality training through the week with the Discoveries, but also with our sports performance coach through the summer,” Langan said. “We didn’t want them to be loaded up, playing three-four games a week, when then the training suffers. The plan was to play game a week, and then really get a quality week of training.”
Offseason opportunities allow for players to train with professional clubs as well. For instance, Holbrook and Hogan trained with USL Championship side Charlotte Independence earlier this week. The Independence recently announced a youth club merger, consisting of Discoveries, Carolina Rapids and Lake Norman, which also includes the Women’s Premier Soccer League and USL2 sides.
“There was also that opportunity, because of the link with the Discoveries and the Independence, where they could do a bit of training with the professional team, but also play PDL,” Langan said.
Next up: Discoveries host the Eagles on May 25 at Nation Ford High
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