Ricky Charles is the 18th person affiliated with the men’s soccer program to be inducted into the USC Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame.
In a program chalked full of excellence, Charles transcended the storied program both in numbers and impact. After transferring to Upstate as a Junior College All-American at Bryant & Stratton, Charles was phenomenal in his two seasons as a Rifle at USC Upstate, then USC Spartanburg, from 2002 to 2003. He led the team to back-to-back appearances in the NCAA Division II quarterfinals and was a two-time All-American selection. He led the team to a stout 34-4-2 record during his time in the program.
Charles led the soccer program to a 19-3-0 record in his first season in Spartanburg in 2002. His squad won the Peach Belt Conference Tournament and advanced to the quarterfinals of the NCAA Division II Tournament after beating Queens (N.C.) in the first round. He earned NSCAA All-America, NSCAA All-Region and Peach Belt Conference All-Conference honors along the way. The 2003 season was even better. He led the team to a 15-1-2 record and the regular season Peach Belt title with a perfect 6-0-0 record. He was named the PBC Player of the Year and took home NSCAA All-America and NSCAA All-Region honors while leading the team to another quarterfinal appearance in the NCAA DII Tournament.
Charles finished his two-year career with an amazing 115 points while leading the team in goals, assists and total points both seasons. He finished his career ranked 10th all-time in scoring at Upstate with all nine players above him playing four seasons at the University. In fact, Charles averaged 57.5 points per season and finished just 62 points shy of the all-time program record of 177 points held by Upstate Athletics Hall of Fame member Henrik Ronnevig.
Charles’ career excellence, though, was not just in the college ranks. He went on to play professional soccer in the United States with the New Hampshire Phantoms and Brooklyn Knights and returned to his native Grenada to play for the St. Ann’s Rangers. He was also a star internationally, serving as a member and team captain of Grenada’s National Team. He scored a goal against the United States in a nationally-televised World Cup qualifying match in 2005. He was even featured in the FIFA video game series produced by Electronic Arts in the mid-2000’s.
Charles lives in his native Grenada and has worked as a government employee. He is also a proud father.