The Charlotte Eagles will begin their 2013 campaign on April 13th at 7:00pm, where they will will face Antigua Barracuda FC. Barracuda FC has run into financial issues and up until last week it was uncertain if Barracuda FC would even field a team. On April 5th, their manager, Fernando Abraham, confirmed that Barracude FC would indeed play in the USL Pro Leage. The teams roster has not been made publicly available, but Abraham has indicated that they will likely field the minimum number of fourteen players.
Antigua Barracuda FC has been plagued with problems since their inclusion in the USL. In the 2012 season the team went 5-18-1, which put them dead last for a second year running. They also had trouble paying player salaries. Their coach, Tom Curtis, who also coached their national team (which was largely comprised of players from Barracuda FC), ultimately resigned his coaching position (and also quite the national team). Due to their poor performance, many of those backing the club financially pulled out leaving the club with financial issues, as well as the lack of a coach.
As of March 21st, 2013 the Antigua local paper was reporting that there was some disagreements between club leadership and that participation in the USL seemed doubtful. Luckily, it seems to have been more or less sorted out by now. Unfortunately, the team seemed to be comprised of “whatever we can get” players and the team has not played any preseason matches, having only practiced together for roughly a month. It is also unfortunate to note that Barracuda seems to not have a home stadium and will play all their matches away.
The Eagles, on the otherhand, have had a busy preseason.
The Eagles opened their preseason with a win a revenge match against over the Cleveland City Stars, winning 3-1. They also had a second win over Campbell University. The Charlotte Eagles traveled to play the NASL side, the Atlanta Silverbacks, and lost 3-0. They also experienced a second defeat against UNC Charlotte, losing 2-1. (The Eagles also played Davidson college, but the results don’t seem to be recorded anywhere.)
During the offseason, the Eagles were quite busy in picking up new players. One of their biggest signings was Jamaican international defender Shaun Francis, who played in the MLS for the Columbus Crew for two years. The Eagles also signed midfielder Drew Yates, who was drafted by the Chicago Fire, 29th overall, in the 2010 MLS draft. Yates has since played for the Harrisburg City Islanders in the USL Pro league.
The Eagles also signed 4 college players: Forward Christian Ramirez and Midfielder Will Prado, both from Concordia University; Midfielder Ben Newnam from Wake Forest University; and Defender Fejiro Okiomah from Highpoint University.
The Eagles overall record against Barracude FC is 3-1-0 with a 10 to 3 goal difference. The match will be played at Queens University in Charlotte at 7:00pm.