Enzo Martinez Moves To MLS With New Colorado Rapids Contract | PHOTOS

Charlotte, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence professional soccer team announced on Monday midfielder Enzo Martinez was acquired by the Colorado Rapids Soccer Club (Major League Soccer). Martinez, the Independence franchise leader in goals scored, was a United Soccer League (USL) MVP Finalist for the past two seasons.

“To the Charlotte Independence staff, ownership, front office, fans, and especially my teammates; I want to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I know I would not be here if it wasn’t for them. I’m forever grateful to the Charlotte Independence organization and all the people involved.” – Enzo Martinez

“We’re all excited and happy for him,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “He’s a player who has worked extraordinarily hard and been successful the last several years in the USL. He earned the opportunity and deserves it. Most importantly, I think he has the heart, desire, and skill-set to contribute to an MLS team.”

An All-USL First team selection for 2016 and 2017, Martinez excelled in his three seasons with the Independence amassing 28 goals scored in 83 games. Martinez made Independence franchise history marking the club’s second hat trick this past season in a 3-1 win over eventual USL Champions, Louisville City FC.

“Charlotte has made the man and player that I am, today,” said Martinez. “They helped me grow, helped me understand the game at a level. When I was younger, I didn’t understand. I feel like I’m ready for this new opportunity.”

Martinez’s opportunity with the Rapids began in January preseason.

“Enzo has really stood out for us this preseason,” said Rapids Executive Vice President & General Manager, Pádraig Smith. “He’s been with us from the first day of training camp and has impressed everyone with his quality and work ethic. His résumé at the USL level speaks for itself and we’re looking forward to seeing what he can do in Major League Soccer.”

“They’re noticing what goes on with us,” said Jeffries of the relationship between the Rapids and Independence. “They’re looking at our guys and recognizing our guys have potential to move up. That’s important to guys coming into our team and system.”

So how does the Independence re-tool upon Martinez’s departure?

“Any team who loses a two-time MVP finalist, that’s a huge task,” said Jeffries. “It’s not so much replacing Enzo, it’s just finding what’s next. The group that comes in will have a slightly different look. [Enzo’s absences] may alter some of the things we do and how we play. It remains to be seen.”

Charlotte’s Professional Soccer team kicks off the 2018 season at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, March 17th when the Independence host Ottawa Fury FC. Tickets are now available. For details on the upcoming schedule and Season Memberships visit charlotteindependence.com or call 704-206-1515.

Jack’s Militia – the supporter’s group for the Charlotte Independence, are selling a T-shirt featuring fan-favorite Enzo Martinez to help raise funds for the group to enhance the gameday experience for the upcoming 2018 Independence season. Any money left over at the end of the season will go to a local charity. You can order the shirt and view other ways to support Jack’s Militia on jacksmilitia.com.