CHARLOTTE (July 8th, 2020) — Charlotte’s Major League Soccer team has announced the signing of its first-ever professional player, Spanish midfielder Sergio Ruiz.

The 25-year-old arrives via transfer from Spanish second division side Racing Santander, whom he represented as captain.

“We are laying down the foundations of a competitive and winning team, and Ruiz is the ideal player to start with,” says Charlotte MLS Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “We’ve been scouting him for several months. He is a natural leader and an intelligent, versatile midfielder, who will be joining Charlotte MLS in his prime. I’m very pleased that he has decided to join us.”

Ruiz represented Racing in the past three seasons, after graduating from its reserve team in 2016. His six goals and seven assists in the 2018-19 campaign helped earn Racing promotion to the Spanish Second Division.

“He is someone who has adapted himself very well to different roles, whether that’s playing in a two-man or a three-man midfield,” says Charlotte MLS Scouting Director Thomas Schaling.

“Every team needs mature, dependable players who think about the team first. Sergio is a technical midfielder who reads the game well, both with and without the ball. We are looking forward to seeing him represent us.”

Ruiz, renowned for his leadership qualities and technical abilities, played 31 times in Racing’s 2019-20 campaign.

“I am so happy and am really looking forward to arriving in Charlotte,” said Ruiz. “It’s an exciting project and a dream for me. I am committed to do my best and make the club and its fans feel really proud.”

Ruiz will occupy one of Charlotte MLS’s eight international roster slots. His signing came during MLS’ two-day transfer window, which fell before the start of the 2020 MLS Is Back Tournament. To maintain match fitness, Ruiz will be loaned out until Charlotte MLS begins play.