Charlotte FC is a professional soccer team based in Charlotte, North Carolina. The club competes in Major League Soccer (MLS), the first division of American soccer as a member club of the league’s Eastern Conference.
Charlotte FC Youth Development System
The Charlotte FC Academy will field teams at U14, U15, U17.
The full-time teams will train four nights a week, additional morning sessions, and represent Charlotte FC Academy on weekend games in the MLS Next League. https://www.mlssoccer.com/mlsnext
Additionally, the U15 and U17 teams will also compete in the Prestigious MLS Generation Adidas Cup. This lauded competition is exclusive to MLS academies in the US and includes professional international opponents.
“We’re excited to expand our programming for the 2021-2022 season to three full time Academy teams,” says Lock. “It will help us achieve our long-term goal of providing two Homegrown players for our first team roster each year from 2023 onwards.”
“MLS Next and Generation Adidas Cup will provide our teams and players with the highest level of play and competition in the USA.” Lock added.
We will be fielding a Reserve team, starting in January 2023. The club is committed to operating a fully comprehensive Academy to MLS professional pathway.
Players selected to our Charlotte FC Academy Program will receive the following:
Full time, fully funded soccer development with a professional MLS club.
Highest level of competition in the country through programming in the MLS Next League, GA Cup Participation and International Competition.
Daily access to dedicated professionals specialized in holistic player
An integrated player support system that includes guidance and support in lifestyle, education and wellbeing.
A development pathway from Academy to the Charlotte FC First Team
CLTFC Discovery Program
U12 (2010) and U13 (2009) age groups are eligible to participate in the Charlotte Discovery Program, which begins in September 2021. Selected players will train two days a week and return to their parent club teams for the remainder of the training week and games. Click here for info on the Discovery Program: https://charlottefootballclub.com/charlotte-fc-academy/charlotte-fc-discovery-program/
These flexible training groups will form teams that will represent Charlotte FC in friendlies and events throughout the year.
As part of this program, the club also intends to establish regional training centers and Talent ID events throughout its Homegrown territory of North Carolina and South Carolina.
“The Discovery Program enables us to work together with local clubs,” says Charlotte FC Academy Manager Dan Lock. “We will train and identify the best U12 and U13 prospects on a regular basis, while they remain playing in their home environments.”
CHARLOTTE FC DISCOVERY PROGRAM
The Charlotte FC Discovery Program is for players currently playing in the U12 and U13 age groups within their club environment.
This program is used for the Charlotte FC Academy to discover future professional players, but more importantly, for players to discover and develop their talent through game exploration, high level training, proven educational methods and top-level coaching.
Charlotte FC believes in developing a sustainable soccer community within the Carolinas and working with ALL local clubs in identifying and developing the top soccer talent in the region. The Charlotte Discovery Program will supplement the club environment by providing twice-weekly training as well as special event programming. Players selected to participate in the Charlotte Discovery Program will continue to train and participate in games with their respective club team. Click here to see the latest programming days.
PLAYER SELECTION AND IDENTIFICATION
Players can be selected for the Charlotte Discovery Program in 4 ways:
- Scouting Identification
- Personal Player Application
- Youth Programs Identification
- Training centers
Player selection is a fluid process and the Charlotte Academy Recruitment Department is constantly evaluating players.
Charlotte Discovery Program will periodically host training centers throughout the year for players to receive exposure to Academy staff, these training centers will take place in both North Carolina and South Carolina – Date and Locations TBD.
What is the Charlotte FC Academy?
The Charlotte FC Academy will develop some of the most talented soccer players in the nation, with the aim of earning a professional contract with Charlotte FC.
The mission is to develop Homegrown Players comparable to the world’s best. As the program develops, the academy will aim to provide an average of two players per year to MLS.
The club will emphasize the holistic development of each individual, producing well-rounded individuals who become valuable members of the community.
What age groups will the Charlotte FC Academy feature?
We will operate full time U17, U15 and U14 teams, as well as a Discovery program for U13 and U12. We will be fielding a Reserve team, starting in January 2023. The club is committed to operating a fully comprehensive Academy to MLS professional pathway.
Is there a cost to participate?
The Charlotte FC Academy is a fully-funded program for all selected full-time participants.
The Discovery Program twice weekly training is also free of cost for selected players.
What is the selection process?
The club has established a scouting identification process in order to observe talented players.
Players may also register their interest in Charlotte FC Academy via the Player Interest form. Click here to register your interest: https://charlottefootballclub.com/charlotte-fc-academy/academy-sign-up/
Where will Charlotte FC Academy players come from?
Charlotte FC’s Homegrown territory is defined as the states of North Carolina and South Carolina.
Players will come from this territory and also available non-Homegrown Territories, per MLS Player Development guidelines.
Will there be a Homestay or Residency Program?
Yes, Charlotte FC provide opportunities to high-potential prospects from both the Homegrown and non-Homegrown Territories. Click here for more info on the Homestay Program: https://charlottefootballclub.com/charlotte-fc-academy/academy-homestay-program/
What leagues will the Charlotte FC Academy play in?
The Charlotte FC Academy teams will participate in the MLS Next Platform as well as the prestigious MLS and International Generation Adidas Cup. Click here for more information.
Where will the Charlotte FC Academy train and play?
The Academy teams train at Manchester Meadows Soccer Complex in Rock Hill S.C. and will play their MLS Next Games at FC Carolinas Soccerplex in Waxhaw.
What will the time commitments be for Charlotte FC Academy players?
Academy prospects will participate in evening practices four nights a week, plus games (home and away) on weekends. There will also be additional morning trainings for players with flexible schooling.
The academy season will run year-round, with targeted breaks that align with the school calendar.
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Charlotte FC History
Beginning with the Carolina Lightnin in the early 1980s, the Charlotte metropolitan region has traditionally been the home of a number of soccer clubs competing in lower divisions of the sport. The game for the 1981 American Soccer League championship, which was won by the Lightnin’ and took place at American Legion Memorial Stadium and was attended by 20,163 people, Following the dissolution of the league in 1983, the club rebranded itself as the Charlotte Gold and competed in the United Soccer League for one season before suspending its activities.
Charlotte did not have a team competing at the professional level again until 1991, when the Charlotte Eagles were established. They joined the US Indoor Soccer League in 1993. Prior to the first season of Major League Soccer (MLS), Charlotte was included on the list of towns that expressed interest in becoming members of the league, but the city was ultimately passed over for a franchise.
In both 1996 and 1998, Charlotte was considered a possible location for an expansion team; however, the league ultimately decided to award those franchises to other cities. In January 2004, the Major League Soccer (MLS) SuperDraft and the National Soccer Coaches Association of America conference were both held in the Charlotte Convention Center. Since the Bank of America Stadium underwent renovations in 2014, the city has played host to a number of international and friendly matches.
Notable among these are the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the International Champions Cup, both of which attracted significant crowds. In addition, the region is home to a sizable community of soccer players, the majority of whom participate in recreational leagues. These leagues have been at the forefront of various initiatives to bring a professional team to Charlotte.
David Tepper, a hedge fund manager and billionaire, purchased the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League in July 2018, and he has expressed interest in bringing Major League Soccer to Charlotte. Tepper is also interested in purchasing the Charlotte Hornets of the National Basketball Association. Tom Glick, the new president of the Panthers, most recently served as the chief operational officer of Manchester City F.C.
He was also involved in the Major League Soccer expansion bid submitted by New York City FC. Tepper delegated Glick the responsibility of organizing an expansion offer for Major League Soccer (MLS), and Tepper spoke with officials from the league on multiple occasions before the next bidding window opened in April 2019. In July 2019, Tepper made a formal expansion bid on behalf of Charlotte to the league. These discussions with league officials and additional inspections of Bank of America Stadium preceded Tepper’s presentation.
He made the announcement in September that he planned to rebuild the current Bank of America Stadium so that it would be ready for an MLS team. This project would require a contribution from the local government of up to $210 million. Tepper has broached the subject of developing a new stadium with a retractable roof for the Panthers and a soccer franchise. The Major League Soccer (MLS) commissioner Don Garber praised the work of Charlotte owner David Tepper and the bid’s intentions in November, naming Charlotte as the leader to acquire the space for the 30th team.
At the end of November, the Charlotte City Council voted to approve funding for a stadium and franchise totaling $110 million, with the funds coming from a hospitality tax. The meeting of the MLS Board of Governors to discuss the Charlotte offer and give final authorization for negotiations with Tepper took place at the beginning of December. The Major League Soccer (MLS) made the announcement that Charlotte would be getting an expansion team at an event held on December 17, 2019, at the Mint Museum.
The new team is scheduled to begin play in 2021. It has been stated that the expansion price that Tepper would be required to pay will be close to $325 million. This is an increase of 62.5 percent in comparison to the expansion fees paid by the successful bids for St. Louis and Sacramento earlier in the year. In the first twenty-four hours following the news of the expansion, the team was able to sell seven thousand season ticket deposits.
The Major League Soccer (MLS) made the announcement on July 17, 2020, that because of the pandemic, the debut of the Charlotte expansion team will be pushed back to 2022. On July 8, 2020, the club made its first player acquisition when it signed Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz from Racing Santander. He was subsequently sent on loan to UD Las Palmas for a period of 18 months, and his arrival in Charlotte is anticipated to take place in January 2022.
In July of 2021, Spanish general manager Miguel Angel Ramrez was selected to become the squad’s first ever head coach. On January 26, 2022, Charlotte FC made history by acquiring its first Designated Player in the form of Polish attacker Karol Widerski. Joe LaBue, a sales executive with the Carolina Panthers, was promoted to the position of club president in February 2022, replacing Glick when the latter stepped down. On February 26, 2022, Charlotte FC participated in its first Major League Soccer (MLS) regular season match.
They were defeated by D.C. United by a score of 3-0 at Audi Field. The club’s home debut at Bank of America Stadium on March 5 against the LA Galaxy established a single-match attendance record for Major League Soccer (MLS) with 74,479 people present. It was also the second-largest attendance that ever attended a match anywhere in the world in 2022 at the time it took place. On March 13, when the club was playing against Atlanta United FC, Adam Armour scored the team’s first goal.
The club came close to earning its first points, but ultimately dropped a 2-1 decision in stoppage time. On March 19, they recorded their first victory in club history by claiming a 3-1 victory at home over the New England Revolution, who had previously won the 2021 Supporters Shield.
Charlotte FC Stadium
Bank of America Stadium has a total capacity of 74,867 seats and serves as the home field for both Charlotte FC and the Carolina Panthers, who compete in the National Football League. David Tepper is also the owner of the Carolina Panthers. The club only utilizes the lower bowl and club sections of the stadium for the majority of their games, which keeps the maximum capacity at 38,000 seats.
Opening up the top bowl allows the team to increase the capacity of the stadium to its maximum level for important fixtures, such as the 2022 home opener. The club was able to move in during the refurbishment, which began in March 2021 and was finished in the beginning of 2022. The makeover included the addition of player tunnels at midfield, wider concourse areas, and soccer-specific locker rooms and training rooms.
The construction of it required a total investment of fifty million dollars, which came from Tepper Sports and the local government. A area of the stadium that is specifically reserved for fan groups can be found on the east side of the venue, behind the goal. The greater wear that was anticipated from hosting Major League Soccer matches led to the decision to replace the grass field of the stadium in 2021 with FieldTurf.
The announcement that Charlotte FC would be the first Major League Soccer team to use personal seat licenses to reserve season tickets in most sections was made in February 2021. The price of seat licenses for the inaugural season was set at $550 per seat, and they would not be transferable to a potential new stadium.
The announcement, as well as the exorbitant price of season tickets for the first season, was met with criticism by the club’s supporters. It was originally planned for the city-owned property that was once occupied by the Eastland Mall to serve as the location for both the team’s headquarters and its practice facilities.
A reduction in the financial incentives offered by the local government, including a tax reimbursement, led to the abandonment of the Eastland Mall project that was scheduled to be constructed in October of the year 2020. Instead, it was planned that the Charlotte FC Elite Academy would be located on the Eastland site. The academy would have an area of 22 acres (8.9 ha) and would be used for youth soccer as well as other public sportsfields. The previous headquarters of Charlotte FC have been relocated to a building in the Uptown district; nevertheless, the team will continue to train at the Sportsplex at Matthews until a permanent facility can be constructed.