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Quenzi Huerman leads revamped UNC men's soccer offensive unit

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UNC graduate midfielder/forward Quenzi Huerman (11) dribbles the ball during the men’s soccer game against Notre Dame at Dorrance Field on Sept. 15, 2023. UNC tied Notre Dame 1-1.

When Quenzi Huerman was available in the transfer portal last offseason, it was “game on” for UNC men’s soccer coach Carlos Somoano.

While Huerman said it was difficult finding the right spots and being there at the right moments early on in his first season at UNC, his goal and two assists on Tuesday showed that he's now found his groove within the North Carolina offense as the team's right winger.

On Tuesday night, Huerman tallied his fifth goal of the season in a 3-0 win over UNC Wilmington. The graduate midfielder is the leading scorer of this year’s team, and his five goals are the most recorded by a Tar Heel in their first six games of the season since 2011.

Huerman also recorded both assists on graduate forward Martin Vician's brace to round out his 4-point performance. The two transfers have been the highlights of UNC's offense this season.

“It's been working and we're still developing certain patterns and still developing that right chemistry, but we’ve made some good progress,” Vician said. “And it’s just exciting to be on the field with Quenzi.”

Huerman’s goal came in the 74th minute and put the bow on the victory for the Tar Heels, extending their unbeaten streak to six. After receiving a pass into the box from junior midfielder Juan Caffaro, he flicked the ball past a defender and the goalie into the bottom part of the net. 

Huerman didn't celebrate on his own, but rather, embraced his teammate Caffaro. 

“I know his [family was] in the stands watching — they came all the way from Argentina — so it was very special for me to get that goal from him,” Huerman said.

Even before scoring that goal, Huerman marshaled the team's aggressive approach. 

After earning their first score of the game in the seventh minute, Somoano said the Tar Heels got comfortable. UNC started to slow down during the first half, allowing UNCW to outshoot them 6-5. At halftime, however, Huerman stepped up and kept his teammates accountable. 

“Quenzi, right at halftime, just came and just nailed it,” Somoano said. “It didn’t even give me a chance to say anything. Before we got in here, he said all the right things like, ‘What are we doing? This isn’t who we are. This isn’t how we play.’”

After that, the Tar Heels held UNCW to just three shots in the second half and scored two more goals to secure the win.

Huerman has developed his game and his leadership at many different places throughout his career. He grew up in Vannes, France, where he spent two years playing with the Vannes Olympique Club U19 team. 

Huerman later came to the United States for a year as an exchange student at Somerset High School in Kentucky before beginning his college career at Palm Beach Atlantic University.

After his junior season, he entered the transfer portal. At the time, Somoano said he wanted Huerman to come to UNC, but “it didn’t work out.” Instead, Huerman went to Seton Hall, where he led the team in goals and assists. 

From France to Kentucky to Florida to New Jersey and now to North Carolina, Huerman’s love for the game has remained the same every step of the way.

“There’s nothing that I love more than this sport, honestly — maybe my mom if she’s listening,” Huerman said. “But honestly, yeah, it’s been a long journey. I’ve been to many different places, but I think I'm very happy to end my collegiate career in this beautiful environment and this special place.”

In his fifth and final year of college soccer, Huerman has now found a starring role on a much-improved UNC team that's now averaging over 17 shots per game — second most in the ACC.

“I think I've been able to learn and grow through that role, adjusting to that position as a right winger," Huerman said. "I think I’ve done a good job of just understanding where I need to be, and obviously [I'm] very happy to have been able to help the team that way.”

@brendan_lunga18

@dthsports | sports@dailytarheel.com

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