Converting from football player to soccer player while enrolled at Davidson College resulted in a career move for Charlie Slagle. As a goalie for the Davidson Wildcats (Class of ’75) for two seasons, he developed a fondness for the game. His prowess in the goal earned him All Southern Conference honors. However, his influence over a much larger audience took root when he started coaching the Wildcat soccer team in 1980. It blossomed when he spearheaded the bid to host the 1992 NCAA Division I Men’s National Championship semi-finals and finals at Davidson. And it continues to bear fruit to this day as he carries out his duties as the Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Area Soccer League, one of the most respected soccer clubs in the United States of America.
Charlie Slagle’s extraordinary contributions as a collegiate soccer coach and as a promoter and administrator of the game for players of all ages and all levels have earned him the distinction of being selected as a member of the eighth class of inductees of the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame on this, the twelfth day of February, 2005.
Coach Slagle was the head men’s soccer coach at Davidson College for twenty one seasons from 1980 until 2000. Numerous Coach-of-the-Year honors were indicative of the skill of his teams and the quality of his work. He was named Southern Conference Coach-of-the-Year seven times and National Soccer Coaches Association of America (NSCAA) South Region Coach-of-the-Year twice. Under his direction, the Davidson Soccer Camps grew from a modest endeavor with fifteen campers to a flourishing enterprise that sparked the youth soccer explosion in the North Mecklenburg and South Iredell County area. As a result, the locker room at the new soccer stadium at the college is named in his honor.
Despite the fact that soccer was growing at Davidson College and in the surrounding communities, Coach Slagle was bothered by a nagging obsession. Year after year, he was struck by an embarrassing lack of fanfare connected with NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer’s premier event – the National Championships. So he took matters into his own hands by spearheading Davidson’s bid to host the 1992 Championships. In an incredible convergence of skill, fate, and opportunity, Davidson not only hosted the event, but also advanced to compete in the national semi-finals and earned Coach Slagle NCAA Men’s Division I National Coach-of-the-Year honors. Even though all 8,000 tickets were sold out before the Wildcats even qualified for the event, their presence made the championships the happening that became the precursor to today’s College Cup. Under Slagle’s direction, Davidson would later host the 1993 and 1994 championships. As the seating capacity increased each year, the size of the sellout crowds increased as well. The NCAA finally found a fitting environment to showcase the top teams in America. Slagle continues his role as tournament organizer and promoter to this day. He directed the NCAA Men’s College Cup in Charlotte in 1999 and 2000, and five ACC tournaments, two NCAA Division I Women’s College Cups, and four US National Team games at SAS Soccer Park.
Charlie’s promotion of soccer helped focus the spotlight held by the general sporting public onto the game. He was selected as “Sportsman of the Year” by the Charlotte Sportsman’s Club in 1992, was honored with the John B. Ross Leadership Award given by the Greater Raleigh Convention and Visitors’ Bureau, and was named “Tar Heel of the Week” by the (Raleigh) News & Observer. He also was the recipient of two prestigious awards presented by the NSCAA – the 1993 Bill Jeffrey Award, given for service to intercollegiate soccer, and the Honor Award, given for outstanding contributions at any level. He also served an appointment as the Division I representative to the NCAA Soccer Rules Committee.
Since August 1, 2001, Slagle has been the Chief Executive Officer of the Capital Area Soccer League, one of the largest “full service” soccer clubs in the country. CASL delivers programs to boys and girls and men and women of all ages across a wide range of skill levels. As CEO, he devotes as much time and energy to those just learning the game as he does to those with lots of experience. He is supported by the experience he gained at Davidson College and by the wide network of people he has met along the way.
Thank goodness for the conversion. Football’s loss was soccer’s gain. The North Carolina soccer community has been a major benefactor of Charlie Slagle’s never-ending optimism and “can-do” attitude. His induction into the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame is our way of saying “Thank you Coach.”