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49ers assistant Brian Edwards to coach Charlotte FC academy GKs
Former MLS player joins startup's staff
Published Monday, August 3, 2020 4:57 pm
by Ashley Mahoney | The Charlotte Post

Charlotte 49ers goalkeepers coach Brian Edwards, a former Major League Soccer player, will take on the same duties with Charlotte FC's academy.

Brian Edwards has seen both sides of Major League Soccer.

Charlotte FC announced the former MLS goalkeeper, Charlotte native and Providence High alumnus as the latest addition to their academy staff last week. Edwards will continue as an assistant coach for the Charlotte 49ers in addition to serving as the academy’s goalkeeper coach.

“Being a Charlottean, it’s just a great deal of pride to work for this club,” Edwards said. “It’s been a dream of mine to have an MLS franchise here. Now, to be part of it and wearing the badge, I don’t really think it’s hit us yet.”

Said Charlotte 49ers coach Kevin Langan: “It’s wonderful for [Edwards] to get involved with Charlotte FC and the staff and their vision, at the highest level of youth [soccer] in the area.”

Toronto FC selected Edwards 28th overall in the 2008 MLS SuperDraft. He spent two seasons with the MLS side and later joined 49ers hall of famer Jon Busch with the San Jose Earthquakes. Edwards also earned a call up to the United States national team against Guatemala for the final 2010 World Cup qualifier. He finished his professional career in Sweden’s second division with Degerfors IF in 2011-12. In college, Edwards won the 2007 national championship with Wake Forest and earned Most Outstanding Defensive Player during the NCAA tournament.

Edwards retired and shifted into the world of selling Medicare and life insurance. Yet the game kept nagging at him to come back, which is how he found himself coaching at Hofstra and eventually the 49ers.

“Over a period of time, sitting in an office setting trying to figure out what I was doing with my life, I realized soccer needed to be a much bigger part of it,” Edwards said. “I definitely wouldn’t say I fell out of love with the game, but I thought maybe my full time soccer journey had ended, but it kept pulling me back. One day I decided, ‘I need to do this full time. I need to be happy. I need to be involved in the game.’”

The MLS academy was not around during Edwards’ youth playing days. Now he is part of the system providing the highest level of training to developing talent in his hometown.

“The academy system as a whole is something when I was first in the MLS was very, very new—early stages,” Edwards said. “When I was with Toronto, my second year was the birth of the academy. We would have some local players who were the top players in the area who would come into training with us, but that was really all they were getting, and they would go back to their clubs.”

Academy players are now exposed to more and improved quality training, consistent games against better competition and a longer season.

“It was the creation of a blueprint, which we’re seeing a much deeper dive into, and how it’s developed over the last 10-12 years,” Edwards said. “Now it’s taking it to an even further level, with players getting nutritional advice, working with high performance coaches on the strength and conditioning side and fitness coaches. Also from a psychological standpoint as well, you’re just seeing this growth of support that was introduced early on in my career, and I kind of saw it from a distance. Now I get to be involved in these meetings and planning for what we’re doing with Charlotte MLS.”




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