New Charlotte USL Pro Soccer Team Unveiled
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – Charlotte’s newest sports team was announced Wednesday evening at Courtyard Hooligans, widely recognized as Charlotte’s home for soccer. The new team, named Charlotte Independence – a not very well kept secret if you were following the progress on social media, will join the USL Pro league beginning in the 2015 season, playing at American Legion Memorial Stadium (also the home to the Charlotte Hounds lacrosse team).
There will be some development at the historic venue as a proffesional soccer field doesn’t currently fit, so the playing surface will be widened and will have a capacity of around 13,800.
The new ownership, led by Jim McPhilliamy of Queen City Soccer Club LLC (also the current president & managing partner of the Charlotte Hounds), aquired the rights for a USL Pro franchise in Charlotte from the Charlotte Eagles. The Eagles will self-relegate to the USL Pro Development League after the 2014 season closes.
Another big announcement for Charlotte Independence was their Major League Soccer affiliation. While the deal isn’t official yet, an agreement is likely to be made with the Colorado Rapids in the coming weeks. President of the Colorado Rapids and former resident of Charlotte, Tim Hinchey, said the two teams are going to be true partners. Some of their top players and staff will be part of the Charlotte Independence at all times and want to grow soccer and develop players at all levels.
The team colors and logo are still yet to be decided but that will be up to the fans. Wade Leaphart, Chief Revenue Officer, detailed how people can go online to charlotteindependence.com and vote for their favorite logo and even leave comments on what you do or don’t like.
As for the name “Charlotte Independence,” this comes from the Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence – the first declaration of independence made during the American Revolution, signed on May 20, 1775, right here in Charlotte. You can read more here. The rider on the horse that already features in Charlotte Independence’s imagery, that’s Captain James Jack. Captain Jack volunteered to take the signed Mecklenburg Declaration of Independence documents to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia, risking everything to get past the British on his journey there. You can read more about him here.
Making the announcements and bringing USL Pro to Charlotte were:
Jim McPhilliamy and family – Majority owner of Queen City Soccer Club.
Tim Holt – President of the USL.
Tim Hinchey – President of the Colorado Rapids.
Also in attendence, backing the team were:
Rob Engle and family – Ambasidor.
Fred Wood – Ambasidor.
Yvonne Boyanovich – Investor.
Mike Behrman – Chief Operating Officer.
Tom Engstrom – General Manager (formerly Charlotte Eagles GM).
Wade Leaphart – Chief Revenue Officer.
The Carolina Rapids