Here's five things to know about the 49ers' men's soccer team, which opened practice Monday:
-- The 49ers (15-4-3 last season) are already showing up in preseason national rankings. Charlotte is 21st in the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's poll and 24th in the College Soccer News poll.
-- Charlotte returns seven starters from last season's team that won the Atlantic 10 regular-season championship and lost to Georgetown in the second round of the NCAA tournament. Leading the way are forward Giussi Gentile (nine goals last season), midfielder Tyler Gibson and defender Thomas Allen, who all were chosen to the preseason All-Conference USA team.
-- The 49ers face a rugged time in their new league. Tulsa and New Mexico are both among the nation's best, and Old Dominion and Kentucky also are expecting to have strong seasons. Charlotte was chosen third in the league's preseason poll behind the Golden Hurricane and Lobos.
-- The season begins Aug. 30 at Denver, with the home opener Sept. 3 against UNC Greensboro. The 49ers begin conference play Sept. 13 at UAB. Charlotte hosts the Conference USA tournament Nov. 13-17.
-- Coach Kevin Langan visited ex-49ers coach Jeremy Gunn (now at Stanford) this summer in California. While he was there, Langan also got a chance to work with the coaching staff of Italian soccer giant Juventus and visit with coach Antonio Conte.
Sept. 3, UNC Greensboro; 6, at Coastal Carolina; 13, at Ala.-Birmingham; 15, Memphis (at Birmingham, Ala.); 21, Campbell; 24, Central Florida; 27, South Carolina.
Oct. 1, Wake Forest; 4, at New Mexico; 9, Old Dominion; 13, at Tulsa; 19, Kentucky; 22, Clemson; 30, at Florida Atlantic.
Nov. 2, Marshall; 8, at Florida International; 13-17, Conference USA tournament (at Charlotte.)