Charlotte Independence relegates itself to USL League One amid arrival of Charlotte FC in MLS
“The Charlotte Independence are excited to announce a continuation of the partnership we have had with the USL since 2015, as our men’s professional team will prepare to compete in USL League One starting in 2022” said Jim McPhilliamy, CEO & Managing Partner of the Independence.
The team will play its first full season in the newly renovated American Legion Memorial Stadium next season after enjoying a partial season there in 2021. “We love our new home in American Legion Memorial Stadium” said principle team owner, Dan DiMicco. “Our team loved playing there this season, and we were able to build on winning our 2020 USL Championship Group last season by delivering our first-ever, home playoff match victory in 2021” DiMicco continued. “We couldn’t be prouder of this year’s team and it’s run at the Championship this season.”
The move to USL League One will allow the Independence to better serve the Charlotte soccer community. “We believe the Independence can better serve the Charlotte soccer community by increasing our focus on developing up-and-coming soccer players as they hone their talents,” said McPhilliamy. “Having our men’s professional team compete in USL League One provides an excellent opportunity to field even more players with Queen City roots. We love the Charlotte soccer community and want it to succeed at all levels.”
The Independence have worked diligently since their founding to build a strong model for player development for both men and women, as well as providing a highly entertaining, quality brand of soccer. “For our local soccer fans, the on-the-field product will remain a highly competitive professional level of men’s soccer – and at a very affordable price point. This move will allow us to work and collaborate more closely with our leading youth academy on the development of local and regional talent,” said team President & COO Tim Schuldt. “Coupled with the announcement of our USL W-League team starting next year, we will deliver the best youth-to-pro development platform for both boys and girls in our region.”
“Charlotte is a key market for the USL and American Legion Memorial Stadium is a great place to experience a game. We are excited to see the Independence join League One and the W League in 2022.” said USL President Jake Edwards. “The Independence and their academy deliver a robust and successful example of USL’s player pathways. We look forward to working with the Independence to continue to deliver exceptional player development and attractive soccer on the field.”
Founded in 2015, the Independence have always strived to put a competitive product on the pitch, going 85-65-59 all time. For local soccer fans, the Independence will continue to play at a highly competitive, fully professional level while focusing more on local talent. The move to League One will rekindle traditional rivalries with both the Richmond Kickers and North Carolina FC, which both preceded the Independence in their moves to League One. New rivalries will be formed with regional teams from South Georgia, Greenville and Chattanooga, providing fans easy access to many home and away matches throughout the season. New League One national opponents will include Omaha, Tucson, and Madison.
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