|Charlotte FC eyed Premier Leaguer Christian Fuchs long before deal|
|Defender comes over from Leicester City|
|Published Tuesday, June 8, 2021 8:10 pm|
|FOXES OF LEICESTER|
|Christian Fuchs, who plays for Leicester City in the English Premier League, will spend the 2022 season with Charlotte FC.|
Charlotte FC had its eye on Christian Fuchs before the pandemic.
The club’s fifth signing and second defender, began discussing joining the side for its inaugural MLS season a week before the COVID-19 pandemic shut the world down. Charlotte’s debut was scheduled for 2021, and ultimately pushed to 2022 due to the pandemic. He signed a one-year deal with a one-year option as a domestic player with Charlotte over the weekend, departing English Premier League side Leicester City after six years.
“I had my first meeting in March 2020, just a week before the pandemic hit, to potentially join the 2021 expansion, which obviously didn’t happen,” Fuchs said.
He kept in touch with Charlotte FC sporting director Zoran Krneta and special advisor Steve Walsh. The latter is a recipient of the English Football Association’s award for Excellence in Talent Identification, and is credited with helping assemble Leicester’s 2015-16 Premier League winning side, including scouting Fuchs.
“It doesn’t take a lot to convince me when Steve Walsh is involved, because so far he has given me a lot of pleasure in my career,” Fuchs said. “When he is telling me: ‘listen, this is something very good that is growing in Charlotte that are going to enter the MLS.’ That is all he needs to tell me.”
Fuchs brings experience both on and off the pitch, making 152 appearances for Leicester across all competitions, scoring three goals (16 appearances across all competitions in 2020-21). He was in his late 20s when he joined the Foxes and is Charlotte’s oldest signing at 35 years old.
Fuchs joins Charlotte’s four other signings, all of whom are on loan elsewhere: 22-year-old Polish defender Jan Sobocinski with KHS Lodz in Poland’s second division, 22-year-old Australian midfielder Riley McGree with second-division English side Birmingham City, 25-year-old midfielder Brandt Bronico with Charlotte Independence in USL Championship and 26-year-old midfielder Sergio Ruiz with second-division Spanish side Las Palmas. They follow each other on social media.
Fuchs said he will arrive for preseason in January fit and if he does not go on loan leading up to preseason, he plans to return to England and train with Leicester. However, the current plan is to take a break.
“My body needs some rest time now, until the end of June at least,” Fuchs said.
Fuchs said the deciding factor of the longevity in his career comes from not being particularly prone to major injuries.
“I was lucky. I had two, but they were in my 20s,” he said. “I was lucky enough for the last five, six, seven years, very hard with the team and not having any injuries, knock on wood. It’s also the feedback I got from Brendan Rodgers over the last two years. He always said, ‘listen you’re strong, you can at least play for three or four more years.’ I am confident.
“I am taking care of my body. It is about good nutrition, knowing when to work hard, but also know when to recover. I know my body. I know what it needs to prolong my career. I love the sport, and I want to be involved as much as I can as a player, but I also want to be involved later.”
Fuchs has split his time between London and his wife, two sons and daughter in New York. He told his wife when he initially signed with Leicester it would be his final professional contract after playing for Bochum, Mainz and Schalke in the German Bundesliga as well as the Austrian national team.
“The hard part was when I signed with Leicester in 2015, I signed for three years, and I said ‘in 2018, I am home,’” Fuchs said. “Well it’s 2021, so that was the hard convincing part. My wife is always very supportive. The part was always traveling back and forth all the time, for my family, for my kids. Now it’s a city hopper – four hours door-to-door. There was no convincing necessary.”
Fuchs became the first Premier League player to launch his own esports academy under his No Fuchs Given brand—for clarification, his last name means “fox” in German – and not pronounced like the vulgarity. He also founded the Foxes Sports Foundation, which helps children use soccer to achieve their dreams.
“I will definitely be involved in the community—that is who I am,” Fuchs said.
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