GREENSBORO, N.C. – Former Guilford College men’s soccer player Brien Braswell ’87 is one of three honorees tabbed for induction into North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame (NCSHOF) next January.
Braswell, a decorated soccer coach at Ragsdale High School, is joined by former Wake Forest University All-American William Hesmer and Bishop McGuiness Catholic High School girls’ soccer coach George Kennedy as this year’s honorees. The group will be recognized along with the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill’s women’s soccer program January 25, 2014, at the North Raleigh Hilton in Raleigh, N.C.
Braswell, an all-state high school goalkeeper at Wake Forest-Rolesville High School, played four seasons as a goaltender at Guilford College. He compiled seven shutouts, a 1.34 goals against average and a .815 save percentage in 25 career appearances for the Quakers. Braswell is in his 25th year as boys’ and girls’ soccer coach at Ragsdale, where his teams have won seven state championships, three for boys and four for girls. He directed the Tigers’ boys to the state 3A title in the fall of 1993 and the Tigers’ girls to the 1A/2A/3A crown the following spring. Braswell was named National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) Division II South Region Coach of the Year in 2005 and North Carolina’s boys’ soccer coach of the year in 1993.
Hesmer, a native of Wilson, NC, retired from professional soccer following the 2012 season after 130 appearances with the Columbus Crew. His pro career began in 2004 with the Kansas City Wizards, who drafted him out of Wake Forest University, where he was a four-year starter for the Demon Deacons. He played in 134 professional games and was only the second goalkeeper in Major League Soccer history to score a goal.
Kennedy was the first Wake Forest men’s head soccer coach when the Demon Deacons took the field for their inaugural season in 1980. He was named Atlantic Coast Conference Coach of the Year in 1982, and coached at Wake Forest for six seasons. He was the boys and girls soccer coach at Western Guilford High School for 25 years and has a combined high school coaching record of 575-144-54.
UNC Chapel Hill’s women’s soccer program will be honored at the Hall of Fame ceremony. The Tar Heels will be the third honoree into the NCSHOF National Champions Hall of Honor, which recognizes national championship teams. The Tar Heels, who have won 21 NCAA Division I women’s soccer championships, and one AIAW national title, will be honored as a program rather than honoring any one team.
The success of the UNC program is unprecedented in women’s collegiate soccer, and the Tar Heels are the only team to qualify for every NCAA postseason tournament since the NCAA first sponsored the national championship playoffs in 1982. They have won 21 of the 31 national titles, the last coming in 2012.
Previously, two other teams have been honored by selection to the N.C. Soccer Hall of Fame National Champions Hall of Honor: the 1981 ASL champion Carolina Lightnin’ and the 1977 Raleigh Spartans, winners of the U18 US Youth Soccer Francis J. “Frank” Kelly Cup national championship in 1995.
Currently, there are 46 members of the N.C. Soccer Hall of Fame, which was established in 1997.
The public is invited to attend the induction ceremony in January. Ticket information will soon be available on the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame’s website at www.ncsoccerhalloffame.com.