Even with a couple of victories in Cox Mill's first six games last year, center midfielder Sean Cogan was surprised the Chargers first-year soccer team had some early success.
Then Cogan's season came to a screeching halt when he broke his collar bone in a loss to Jay M. Robinson. After that, Cox Mill's season didn't get much better.
This year, with a healthy roster, the Chargers are still in the hunt for a conference championship and a state playoff appearance.
With eight seniors on this year's team, including Cogan, Cox Mill is playing with the best of the South Piedmont Conference. The Chargers are 8-2-2 (4-2-1 in the conference) and are fourth in SPC standings (as of Oct. 8). Both of their losses - to Hickory Ridge and Robinson - have been by only one goal.
Never miss a local story.
Cogan's seen some success directing the offense from the midfield, as he's one of the Charlotte region's top assist leaders with 10. He's also added six goals for the Chargers.
"He's able to control the ball better than anyone in the conference that I've seen," said Will Rust, Cox Mill's first-year coach. "And to also have the field vision that he has, he's able to play the ball where he wants it and when he wants it. That's such a huge advantage for us. When he's on, and he rarely isn't, we have a chance to beat anyone."
Cogan, who is also the kicker for the Chargers' football team, has been playing soccer since age 3, when his father and a neighbor formed a club team in Downingtown, Pa.
When the family moved to Concord in 2003, Cogan began playing club soccer with the North Meck Soccer Club. He has also spent time with FC Carolina Alliance and Charlotte United FC.
This year, Cogan is playing for Charlotte Soccer Academy's under-18 team, which is part of the prestigious U.S. Development Academy league.
As a high school player, Cogan attended Northwest Cabarrus as a freshman and sophomore and played for the varsity team both years. The Trojans lost in the first round of the 3A state playoffs both years.
As a junior on Cox Mill's inaugural team, Cogan said he felt some pressure.
"It was brand new, and we were the class that started there," he said. "We had a lot of weight on our shoulders to step up."
Cogan's injury came when he tried to jump over an opposing player and flipped over, landing on his shoulder, breaking his collar bone.
Without Cogan and goalkeeper Kyle Henderson, who also broke his collar bone and is now a defender, the Chargers went on to finish with a 4-13 (4-10) record. Cox Mill got their wins by defeating A.L. Brown and Mount Pleasant on both of their meetings.
Cogan's play has drawn attention from some college coaches. He hopes to play at UNC Wilmington next year.
He's also working hard in class, posting a 4.3 GPA with a class load that includes honors classes. He is vice president of the student council, an officer in the DECA Club and a member of the National Honor Society as well as the Beta Club.
Cogan's goals for the rest of the season are closely tied to the future of Cox Mill soccer.
"Everybody wants to win, but all of us seniors want to end on a good note," said Cogan. "We want to go out leaving everything on the field. We don't want to regret anything and just leave a good legacy behind us."