|Charlotte Independence announce merger of youth soccer clubs|
|12,000 players covered by association|
|Published Monday, April 22, 2019 5:38 pm|
Youth soccer in Charlotte is changing.
The Charlotte Independence will announce a merger among local youth clubs Tuesday at a press conference at 11 a.m. It will consist of approximately 12,000 players, making it among the largest youth systems in the nation and mirrors what USL Championship rival North Carolina FC did 2017 when Capital Area Soccer League and Triangle Futbol Club Alliance merged to create NCFC’s youth club of over 13,500 players.
Independence owner Jim McPhilliamy described the merger, which will include Carolina Rapids, as “the creation of one of the largest youth-to-pro youth soccer clubs in the country.”
McPhilliamy noted the new direction of the organization when the Independence hired Jim McGuinness, as head coach in December. Former head coach Mike Jeffries shifted to the role of general manager and longtime Charlotte USL general manager Tom Engstrom, who worked for both the Independence and the Charlotte Eagles, became special advisor to McPhilliamy.
“Tom and I are going to work on a business plan and see what it looks like,” McPhilliamy said in December. “Thus far, we have not really thought about the youth market at all, but I think it’s something that now we need to sit down and meet with some of the other youth clubs in town, see where their heads are at. Obviously we have strong affiliations with Charlotte Soccer Academy and with Carolina Rapids.”
Charlotte Soccer Academy has more than 6,500 players, but is not among the clubs entering the Independence merger.
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