A lot of people in High Point are very excited about the 2024 start-up of professional soccer in their city in the form of the new Carolina Core Football Club, which will play its home games in the same $38 million downtown Truist Point Stadium where the High Point Rockers play baseball.
That excitement built this week as the team announced several major pieces being put in place.
Founded in 2022, Carolina Core FC is an independent professional men’s soccer team that will begin play in the MLS NEXT Pro league – a league that feeds top players into Major League Soccer (MLS) and one that will have many games broadcast on the Apple TV Plus service.
Since inception, team owners and staff In High Point have been working diligently together to assemble a top-notch staff and roster of players.
High Point Native, Eddie Pope, the team’s chief sporting officer, is one of the leaders in that effort. He’s a US Men’s National Team and MLS legend.
On Friday, Dec. 8, the team announced that it had landed the very experienced 23-year-old Parisian star Ibrahim Covi, who’s played on a wide variety of teams all over the world.
Pope said Covi will bring “invaluable knowledge and leadership to the team” thanks to his international experience.
“Ibrahim comes to us with a solid footballing foundation having come through the Paris FC youth system in France,” Pope said. “Besides his physical prowess, he’s tactically sound, intelligent, and he reads the game well. He has the qualities that we are looking for in a center back, so we are excited to watch him grow and develop as a player.”
Roy Lassiter, the head coach of the team, said Covi possesses “a good physical presence and works well with his left and right foot.”
Earlier this week, the team announced it had filled another key position: goalkeeper coach. Donovan Ricketts will be Carolina Core’s goalkeeper coach, who Pope called “one of the most decorated goalkeepers in the history of MLS.”
In 2011 and 2013, Ricketts was voted Major League Soccer’s Goalkeeper of the Year and he’s also been part of an MLS championship team.
Ricketts has tremendous and lengthy experience in Europe and Jamaica.
Pope said, “We know that under Donovan, our goalkeepers will receive the best training of goalkeepers anywhere …What an exciting opportunity for any young goalkeeper in our region.”
Carolina Core is also giving local players a chance. The team is holding several public tryouts, with the next one being on Saturday, Dec. 16 in Asheboro.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, Carolina Core is holding an MLS Cup Final Watch Party at the Claddagh Irish Pub in High Point for a game with a 4 p.m. kickoff.