In the buildup to Charlotte FC’s inaugural season, members of the inaugural roster are earning valuable game time with other clubs around the world. From playoff success to crucial match-winning goals, we check in on the progress of our players over the past month…
Riley McGree (Birmingham City)
Charlotte FC’s second-ever signing is seeing his popularity increase significantly among Birmingham City fans, thanks to some game-changing performances in recent weeks.
On October 23, the Australian international scored the winner in a 2-1 victory over Swansea City, after coming on as an impact sub in the final 30 minutes. In Birmingham’s next home game, McGree scored the opener against Bristol City with an audacious 25-yard strike. It was quite a way for the Puskas Award nominee to mark his 23rd birthday…
The midfielder—who played in a front three alongside former Premier League talisman Troy Deeney in the Bristol City victory—is becoming a mainstay in the Birmingham starting XI.
After the Bristol City win, Birmingham manager Lee Bowyer spoke positively to the Press Association about the Australian:
“Riley has taken his opportunity. With me, if you work hard and care about the club and the team you’re playing for, you’ll always have a chance of playing. Riley’s been superb.”
Adam Armour (Charlotte Independence)
The Charlotte Independence closed the regular season of the USL Championship Eastern Atlantic Division by going undefeated throughout October, clinching second spot in the table. This set up a home playoff against Memphis 901 FC on November 6, in which the Queen City side triumphed by a 3-1 scoreline.
Adam Armour played six times in October, earning two assists to bring his season tally to four. The Carolina native has shown his offensive prowess and versatility in a variety of positions in recent matches, inducing roles on the left side of a back three, and several positions in midfield.
“It was an amazing feeling to make the playoffs,” says Armour. “I’m a very competitive person, so it’s great to see that the work the team has been putting in is paying off.
“I’ve really enjoyed playing as a left back, but also playing in a higher wing back position. I feel like this has allowed me to show more of my offensive side in the games.
“And I’ve been doing my best to prepare for what next year will bring, as well as focusing on the playoffs with the Independence.”
Brandt Bronico (Charlotte Independence)
The Independence’s playoff run has also been fortified by the presence of midfielder Brandt Bronico, who closed out the regular season with consistently strong performances.
In October’s 5-1 win over Loudoun Utd, the 26-year-old scored a long range goal before assisting forward Sylvain Marveaux. On the road at Hartford Athletic, Bronico assisted Joel Johnson’s superb winning goal, which in turn helped the USL outfit clinch their playoff spot.
“The team has been playing much better and I have been very happy with my recent performances and contributions to the team,” says Bronico.
“We are in great form and hitting stride as we go into the playoffs. We are all excited to compete for a championship and we are taking it one game at a time.”
Christian Fuchs (Charlotte Independence)
Former Premier League champion Christian Fuchs has continued to play a vital role in the Independence’s defense, and has been virtually ever-present since joining up the team in July.
With Fuchs’ talent and experience, the Independence gave up the third-fewest goals in the division on their way to the playoffs. In the playoff win over Memphis 901, Fuchs scored the second goal of the evening at Memorial Stadium, Elizabeth, marking his second goal of the season.
“It has been positive to see Christian take up an integral role within the Independence team so quickly,” says Charlotte FC Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling. “Even though we expected this from someone with his experience and quality, it’s always great when things work out as planned for everyone involved.”
Jordy Alcivar (LDU Quito)
Charlotte FC’s most recent signing continues to impress with Ecuadorian top flight side LDU Quito. In October, the 22-year-old midfielder featured in three league matches, bringing his total number of appearances in 2021 up to 28.
It’s been a busy time for Alcivar: In addition to prospering with his boyhood club and prepping for his arrival in Charlotte, the Ecuadorian international also tied the knot!
“Jordy is a very competitive player, who will want to give it his all during the final games of this season,” says Schaling. “We look forward to welcoming him in Charlotte after he completes his time at LDU Quito.”
Armour, Fuchs and Bronico aren’t the only Charlotte FC players who have settled into the Charlotte community: Uruguayan centre-back Guzman Corujo, signed by the club in August, has moved to the Queen City in preparation for the 2022 season.
The 25-year-old has started representing the club at community events, including the recent #MexTour match at Bank of America Stadium.
“Given everything that has happened in recent months, it’s really positive to have Guzman in Charlotte and to be able to help him get settled in the city and with the club,” says Schaling. “He is staying fit and will be ready for pre-season.”
Jan Sobocinski (LKS Lodz)
Twenty-two-year-old defender Jan Sobocinski, on loan with his hometown team LKS Lodz, spent a few weeks in October sidelined with a minor injury, but made his return to action on October 27 in a Polish cup match against Zagłębie Lubin.
Lodz remain in playoff contention, with the view of a return to the Polish top flight next season.
“I am really looking forward to coming to Charlotte—for one thing, the weather will be much better than Poland!” says Sobocinski. “The first game will be an incredible experience. I was shocked when my agent told me how many people would be at Bank of America Stadium. It’s really exciting, I think MLS will be a great league for me.”
Sergio Ruiz (Las Palmas)
Sergio Ruiz was ever-present for loan side Las Palmas in 2021-22, until a minor fracture in his foot kept him out of action throughout October.
However, Charlotte’s first-ever signing returned to action in a 2-1 win over Fuenlabrada on November 3, which helped the Spanish side’s push for promotion to La Liga.
“It is only a matter of weeks until my wife and I move to Charlotte, and we cannot wait to get started,” says Ruiz. “I’m really pleased to be back on the field to help Las Palmas, and to make sure I’m in great form for training camp.”