It may be hard to believe, but John Cullen will be entering his fifth season at the helm of the Charlotte 49ers women’s soccer team this upcoming year. With a career record of 49-26-8 at the school, the former Niner (class of ’93) hopes that the 20th season of women’s soccer at the school is a successful one–specifically, with a Conference USA championship and the first NCAA appearance since 2008.
I sat down with Cullen today for a few minutes and got his thoughts on the previous season (which saw them begin 6-3-1, 4-0 in A-10 before a six-game winless skid), the graduation of several key players and the return of several others (including leading scorer Amanda Jones), his thoughts on the incoming group, and the return to C-USA after an eight year hiatus in the Atlantic 10.
The ladies begin play with an exhibition match at UNC Asheville on Saturday–then things get started for real with the regular season opener against Liberty at Transamerica Field on Friday, August 23. (By the way, during the interview, toward the end, you’ll find out why that match against Liberty is significant to this program’s history.) Matches against UNC Wilmington (August 25) and Gardner-Webb (August 27) wrap up a season-opening three game homestand for the Niners.