Mark Berson said of all four men’s soccer goalies competing in the 1988 College Cup, Charlie Arndt had the most unique ending. All four goalies at the time were considered to be among the greatest rising stars in the sport.
Three of the four goalies went on to compete for their countries on the national roster. One became a senior commercial banker.
That was Arndt.
“I think that tells you a lot about Charlie,” Berson, the former men’s soccer head coach (1978-2021), said. “He was a fierce competitor. He won the national goalkeeper of the year award that year in an elite class of keepers.”
It had been 35 years since Arndt stepped onto the field in a South Carolina jersey. Friday, he got that chance when the Gamecocks came together to reflect on Arndt’s accomplishments and memorialize his jersey — cementing him further into USC men’s soccer history.
“I was speechless,” Arndt said about learning the news. “I can’t tell you how overwhelming the honor is to represent not just my teammates and coaches, but just this program.”
Ironically, Berson knew even before the former keeper spoke to the media Friday night that Arndt would honor those teammates he played alongside.
“I think he would be the first one to tell you a tribute to his teammates and what they accomplished in South Carolina,” Berson said laughing. “You know, he’s just a great competitor.”
Arndt is one of two players with jersey retirements this weekend, with former football wide receiver Alshon Jeffery’s jersey retirement scheduled for Saturday’s home game against Mississippi State. Arndt is also the second-ever men’s soccer player to have his jersey retired, joining Clint Mathis (1994-97).
Arndt, the 1988 NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year, joined the Gamecocks in 1985 as a backup to Warren Lipka — who won NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year in 1985. After his freshman season, Arndt remained the USC starter for the remaining three years.
Berson said Arndt was a man of few words during his time in a South Carolina jersey. Arndt arrived early, stayed late and was consistent, Berson said.
“Consistent” was emphasized.
“He always did what he was supposed to do,” Berson said. “He was always in the right place, At the right time — very reliable. You know, if you asked Charlie to do something, it was done.”
Arndt holds the Gamecocks’ program record for career goals-against average at 0.70, along with a second-best 24 solo shutouts, fourth-best in save percentage, fifth in minutes played and eighth in total saves.
His senior year, when Arndt won the NCAA Goalkeeper of the Year, he held a 0.54 GAA — second all-time to his own record set in his junior year (0.40). That season, South Carolina went 14-4-4 and appeared in the NCAA College Cup for the first time in program history.
Arndt was selected ninth overall in the 1989 Major Indoor Soccer League college draft by the Cleveland Crunch, and played in Germany for one season before returning to the United States. He’s since become a volunteer goalkeeper coach at Furman while working as a market leader in Greenville.
Even admitting he’d get “choked up,” Arndt couldn’t help but smile when explaining the impact Berson had on his goalkeeper career. Berson echoed the sentiments, knowing he was just as elated when learning of Anrdt’s achievement.
“Our relationship is something that I look back on with tremendous respect,” Arndt said, trying to hold back the emotions. “He taught me how to be a man. He’s taught me how to teach and lead. I’m forever grateful for the time that he spent with me, and it wasn’t just on a soccer field.”
Berson made the trip to Stone Stadium to celebrate Arndt’s accomplishments, and joined Arndt, South Carolina Director of Athletics Ray Tanner and current Gamecocks head coach Tony Annon on the field.
How South Carolina retires jerseys
According to USC: “Retired jerseys are selected by a committee of representatives from the South Carolina Athletics Department, University Board of Trustees, and the USC Lettermen’s Association.
Factors for jersey retirement include post-season national and conference recognitions, school record holders, impact on team accomplishments and either graduating from South Carolina or leaving the school in good academic standing.
The current athletics department policy states that the school retires jerseys, not numbers. Athletics department records indicate the current policy has been in place since at least 2007. Numbers retired prior to then will continue to be in a retired state. Current and future student-athletes can wear numbers that were affiliated with jersey retirements after 2007.”
USC retired jerseys
#1 Alshon Jeffery (2009-11)
#2 Sterling Sharpe (1983, 85-87)
#7 Jadeveon Clowney (2011-13)
#37 Steve Wadiak (1948-51)
#38 George Rogers (1977-80)
#56 Mike Johnson (1964)
#3 BJ McKie (1996-99)
#11 John Roche (1968-71)
#22 Alex English (1972-76)
#42 Grady Wallace (1955-57)
#43 Kevin Joyce (1970-71)
#13 Martha Parker (1985-89)
#14 Shannon Johnson (1992-96)
#53 Sheila Foster (1978-82)
#1 Ray Tanner (1997-2012)
#13 Earl Bass (1972-75)
#14 Kip Bouknight (1998-2001)
#11 Trinity Johnson (1995-97)
Joyce Compton (1987-2010)
WOMEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Miki Barber (1999-2003)
Dawn Ellerbe (1992-97)
MEN’S TRACK AND FIELD
Terrence Trammell (1998-200)
Clint Mathis (1994-97)
Charlie Arndt (1985-88)