Nathan Regis is keeping it local.
The two-time NCAA Division II national player of the year went undrafted by an MLS team, but has found a temporary home on trial with the Charlotte Independence, whose combine he participated in December.
Charlotte opened preseason training today, but has yet to announce a striker among the 16-man roster, according to general manager Tom Engstrom. Last season’s starting striker, Brian Brown, signed with USL rival Reno.
“We all know the MLS draft didn’t go exactly as I expected, but I’m positive,” Regis, a former Pfeiffer striker said. “I’m going to work hard here. North Carolina will always be home to me. I really wish to play here. I just want to keep it local.”
Said Independence coach Mike Jeffries: “It’s nice for us to be able to bring some of the top local guys in and get a look.”
Conference Carolinas’ player of the year and conference tournament MVP for the last three seasons, Regis finished his senior season with 24 goals and 10 assists. He tallied 85 career goals at Pfeiffer.
“He’s eager, and he’s another big, strong player,” Charlotte defender Bilal Duckett said. “He’s somewhat of a Charlotte product as well, and he’s got a bit of coachability to him. You give him a pointer here, a pointer there, and he kind of tunes in and listens. He may push back, but big picture, at least as far as today goes. He listened, and he got it.”
Regis played in the PDL with the Charlotte Eagles in the summer of 2015, and spent last summer training with MLS clubs like Sporting Kansas City.
“Regis had so much success with Pfeiffer and had good PDL years,” Jeffries said. “He’s certainly a guy that makes sense to look at up front, and see where he’s at. I think it’s tough sometimes for those guys coming in, especially guys from smaller schools to stay sharp in the offseason,” because they aren’t playing as much.
Said defender Austin Yearwood, who was Regis’ Eagles teammate: “Regis is same old, same old. He’s a strong forward, athletic, holds the ball up and finishes chances.”
Said Duckett: “You want them to come out and show well and do well—earn their position. The same way that anybody else on the team has got to earn their position, whether they’ve got a contract or not.”