CARY, N.C. (May 10, 2023) – North Carolina FC forward Rafa Mentzingen has been named USL League One Player of the Month for April, as announced by the league Wednesday. Mentzingen is the Golden Boot leader in the league and was named to the USL League One Team of the Week three times throughout the month.
Across five matches in April, the NCFC newcomer Mentzingen scored a league-high five goals, including a brace against his former club, Chattanooga Red Wolves SC. Mentzingen scored the winner for NCFC against Lexington SC on April 1 to give NCFC its first win of the season, sparking the six-match unbeaten streak in league play the club carries into the weekend.
“First, I want to thank God for such a blessed beginning of the season. I also want to thank my teammates and our coaching staff. We had a great month together and so many of us have stood out. This award is just the cherry on top of an unbeaten month as a team. Now we are focused on building on that momentum into May and beyond,” Mentzingen said.
“Rafa has had a tremendous impact on our team, both on and off the field, so far this season. It’s encouraging to see his current production, but I feel he can still be even better. As he continues to find his best form, he will be a great component of our attacking group,” said head coach John Bradford.
In a road test against Union Omaha, Mentzingen coolly slotted home a penalty in the third minute to help lead NCFC to its first-ever win over Omaha. Mentzingen also scored a penalty on the road against Greenville Triumph SC.
For the 2023 season, Mentzingen leads USL League One in goals (6), total shots (23) and – according to Opta – has converted over half of his big chances, netting 54.6% of the opportunities. Teammate Oalex Anderson, who was also a Player of the Month nominee, is second in the league shots at 17 and third in assists with three.
This is the first Player of the Month award won by a North Carolina FC player since joining USL League One and first monthly honor for the club since April 2016, when Austin da Luz earned the honor in the NASL. Mentzingen has won the honor once before, named the July Player of the Month in 2019 when he was a member of Lansing Ignite FC. The Player of the Month award is decided by a combination of fan vote and technical committee ballot.
NCFC returns to action at WakeMed Soccer Park on Saturday, May 13, at 7:00 p.m. ET as they host Forward Madison FC. The match will be broadcast on ESPN+ and tickets can be purchased here.