September 5, 2012
By Charles Cuttone
For Madison 56ers forward Carlos McCrary, the past year has been an interesting one, to say the least. He was a member of the University of North Carolina team that won the NCAA Championship, he decided to transfer to Creighton after the season, he helped the 56ers to the National Premier Soccer League final four, and he was named the leagues’ Player of the Year.
Though a part of the Tar Heels winning effort, with three goals and one assist, McCrary didn’t see as much playing time in Tar Heel Blue as he had hoped to, perhaps owing to the fact that the coach who recruited him, Elmar Bolowich, had left for other pastures.
That was the key reason to make the switch, and while he looked at other programs, he decided Creighton was the place for him.
"One thing that really helped my decision, was my coach who recruited me out of high school came to Creighton University," he said of Bolowich, who took over the Blue Jays helm before the 2011 season.
"Creighton is really established as a top program in soccer, and they take pride in the soccer program. Their facilities are amazing and it’s just a really good place to be. It really drew me in," McCrary said.
Playing in the NPSL, after spending the 2010 season with the Des Moines Menace in the PDL, was a change of pace for McCrary, who split his high school career between Centennial High School and South Cobb High School in Georgia.
"For me, I got a lot more time on the field in the NPSL this summer, so it helped me with my confidence," said the said the 20-year-old communications major.
"I got to see the field more and play day in and day out. It’s a good league. It’s equal with the PDL. Coming from the Des Moines Menace I think they are definitely comparable.
"There are some really good teams. Some of the programs we played against are exciting to play at. I really enjoyed playing in Cleveland. They had a really good squad, and it was exciting. It definitely helped me for the college season in terms of getting touches on the ball, because I didn’t practice at all in the spring because I knew I was transferring."
McCrary wound up in Madison because his father, after years of working for FEMA, decided to settle there. It was a good way to spend time with his dad and brothers.
A top goal scorer in high school, he had 86 goals in four prep seasons and was the top offensive performer each of his prep years, highlighted by his 25-goal output his senior year. McCrary recaptured the scoring spark with the 56ers this past summer, scoring 17 goals in all competitions, including two in the team’s 2-1 playoff win over AFC Cleveland.
He says playing in both college and NPSL final fours was a unique experience, each with their own set of memories.
"It’s a lot different, the College Cup and the NPSL. I feel like I played a bigger part in the NPSL final four, even though I would have liked to win it all. I really wanted to get the guys to California. It really didn’t work out as far as winning the whole thing, but I wanted to do my best, because I knew a lot of the guys had never been to California before. Both were really good experiences. Both of them were competitive."
Now in his junior year, McCrary says he’d like to play pro soccer, and could see himself back with the 56ers next summer, if that meets the approval of Bolowitch.
"I would like to (go back to the NPSL). I am going to ask my coach here at Creighton what they think would be best for me, but I wouldn’t mind going back into the NPSL and if I were going back into the NPSL, I would want to play with the 56ers again."