Charles Basse knew he would have a good chance to break the East Mecklenburg school record for career soccer goals coming into this season.
But 5-foot-11, 165-pound senior forward says his focus has been on helping the Eagles win games. Going into the Oct. 7 home game with Independence, he needed just one goal to tie the record and two to break it.
Basse scored his first goal five minutes into the game.
Then, in the 22nd minute, junior midfielder, Jack Mehrtens, found Basse on a perfect cross which he put in the corner of the net for the record-breaking goal (85th career goal, and a 2-0 lead at the time).
Basse didn’t just break the record that night, he shattered it. He scored four goals in the win, and has four regular season games left as well as the postseason.
He beat out former East Meck forward Sean McGinty (84 career goals), a two-time Charlotte Observer Player of the Year who played soccer for UNC Chapel Hill.
“The moment that ball went in the net, it was an unreal feeling that I didn’t expect to have,” said Basse. “I didn’t expect them to stop the game and announce the record and give me the game ball. I thought it would be just another statistic.
“But it wasn’t just another moment. I got to high-five all of my teammates, hearing the crowd chanting my name and saw (East Mecklenburg) coach Joel Edde call for the game ball and switch it out with another ball. It was an amazing moment for me and our entire team.”
Edde said the moment will give his team momentum.
“When Jack (Mehrtens) played the ball to (Basse), the first thing I thought was ‘please don’t miss that shot,’” said Edde. “When it went I was so happy for him and so relieved for him at the same time.”
Both Basse and Edde say they want to continue to play well for the rest of the season.
“Breaking the record and playing our best game (of this season) has really united us and brought us even closer together,” Edde said. “I believe this is one of those moments that will spring us forward.”
East Mecklenburg is off to its best start (9-5, 5-3) in Edde’s five-year tenure. The Eagles (11-9 last season) made the 4A playoffs for the first time in six years.
“Each year, this senior class has been here we have gone up a little bit more,” Basse said. “Last year, we made the playoffs. But this year, we want even more. It would be unreal to have a home playoff game and go deep into the playoffs. We want to set a precedent for the future and help the East Meck soccer tradition back to what it used to be.”
To make a run, Edde knows his team will need Basse to play at a high level, but also need other Eagles to step up their games.
Midfielders like Denilson Cardona, Mehrtens (four assists), Christian Thomas (three goals, eight assists) and center back, Eli Oswald, have played big parts in East’s success this season.
“A lot of people know about me, because of the goals I’ve scored,” said Basse, who runs 4.4 40-yard dash. “But we have a lot of great players on this team. None of what I have accomplished this year or in the past four years would have been possible without my teammates.”
While Basse says playing college soccer would be a dream come true, he will never forget where he came from.
“The East Meck soccer team means everything to me,” Basse said. “When I got to East Meck, I wasn’t very motivated as a soccer player and I didn’t have a lot of friends.
“But the East Meck soccer team totally changed that. Every single teammate has become my friend, and all of them have lifted me and gave me the confidence to accomplish the things I have done here.”
Jay Edwards is a freelance writer: firstname.lastname@example.org.