|Independence announce eight returning players for 2020 campaign|
|Alex Martinez among seven who won't return|
|Published Monday, January 20, 2020 6:00 pm|
|Goalkeeper Brandon Miller is one of eight players from the Charlotte Independence's 2019 roster signed for 2020.|
The Charlotte Independence unveiled their first roster announcements for the 2020 season.
While the club issued an emotional farewell to midfielder Alex Martinez, who played the first five seasons with the club, they also announced the return of eight players and the departure of seven others.
Returning: goalkeeper Brandon Miller, defenders Clay Dimick, Joel Johnson and Hugh Roberts, midfielders Valentin Sabella, Jake Areman and Kevan George, as well as striker Enzo Martinez.
Leaving: defenders Chad Poarch, Steven Thicot, Aaron Maund, Abdoulie Mansally, midfielder Ricardo Bocanegra and strikers Dominic Oduro and Zyen Jones.
Head coach and general manager Mike Jeffries joined the Sports Charlotte podcast last week to talk about the 2020 season and pandemonium of last 2019.
“In my way of looking at things, I want to have outside backs who can get forward, can attack, and can join in into the attack,” he said. “Probably the other areas we’ll focus on will be being a little better defensively, not a little, but being better defensively. Last season, we tended to play a little bit deeper than we have in past years. When we started to do that we had some success defensively. It helped us stay pretty tight and pretty organized. ”
Charlotte failed to qualify for the playoffs for the second straight season, finishing 9-14-11 with 38 points and 13th in the USL Championship Eastern Conference. According to Jeffries, it is a 10-win season or bust, as last season’s record was the first time in franchise history they did not accomplish as much. The club will begin preseason training at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Jan. 27, open the regular season at Sporting Kansas City II on March 8, and open their home campaign against Pittsburgh on March 14. With the exception of Feb. 1, they will play preseason matches every weekend leading up to the opener.
Jeffries declined to name opponents or dates, but Tormenta FC of USL League One did announce a match against the Independence in Columbia, South Carolina on Feb. 12 at 5 p.m.
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