The Charlotte 49ers are ranked eighth in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's preseason poll.
The 49ers lost in the 2011 College Cup final to North Carolina, which is the preseason No. 1 in the NSCAA poll. The two other teams in the College Cup, UCLA and Creighton, are ranked second and third, respectively.
Charlotte returns eight starters from last season's 16-5-4 team. They begin preseason practice Friday in preparation for their season opener Aug. 25 against Denver at Transamerica Field.
The 49ers have also announced their 2012 recruiting class, which includes two transfers from 2010 national champion Akron:
-- MF Kyle Baccus, Waco, Texas: Helped Midway High to 27-1-1 record last season and district championship. Was All-District and academic All-State.
-- MF Dominic Bonilla, Lawrenceville, Ga., transfer from Akron: Didn’t play for Zips last season and joined 49ers in the spring. High school All-American at Collins High.
-- D Biko Bradnock-Brennan, London: Was captain of Blackpool’s U-18 team and also holds school records in 100, 200 meters and high jump.
-- GK Christian Hansen, New Bern: Had eight shutouts last season and was all-state. Also played in East-West game in Greensboro in July.
-- D Brandon Kardos, Matthews: One of the country’s top defenders at Providence High and Charlotte Soccer Academy.
-- D David Mayer, Wigan, England, transfer from Akron: Started four games for Akron last season.
-- GK Austin Pack, Alpharetta, Ga.: Helped Chattahoochee High to state 4A championship last season.
-- MF/F Kyle Parker, Marvin: Helped Marvin Ridge High to 2009 state championship and scored 76 career goals with 58 assists.
-- MF Branco Theis, Raleigh: All-conference and all region at Leesville Road High.
-- D Luke Waechter, Evans, Ga.: Helped Greenbrier High to last season’s state championship game. Sister Kelsey plays at South Florida.