Brandt Bronico has been a revelation this season.

The North Carolina native and Charlotte 49ers alumni has won the hearts of Charlotte FC fans with both his approachable personality and relentless work ethic for the team. He’s had to overcome a lot of doubt in his journey here, but it was that same doubt that forged Bronico into the player he is today.

“I have a little bit of a chip on my shoulder because I’ve been an underdog my whole life. I was never called into a national team camp, and I guess people never really raved about me the way they've raved about other players. So, it's just kind of like proving those people wrong that have doubted me.”

Proving the doubters wrong is exactly what he has done. However, before he did so this season for CLTFC, there were always questions as to what his best position is.

Throughout his high school years, Bronico played as a central midfielder but was shifted to a more attacking role when he arrived in college. Bronico made his name there as an attacking left midfielder to eventually get drafted by the Chicago Fire.

The Fire shifted him back to a box-to-box midfield role, but it wasn’t until his loan to the Charlotte Independence in 2021 (after being traded to Charlotte FC in December 2020) where we started to see Bronico in the defensive midfield position he’s shined in for The Crown.

“I think I pride myself the most on getting the ball, whether it's a header or winning the ball back for the team," said Bronico. “Also then being that connector: switching points of attack and switching the ball from one side to the other or being able to keep the ball which eventually ends up in us creating a chance to score a goal.”

As a player who wants to be known for winning the ball, covering a lot of ground, and creating chances for his teammates to go forward, there’s no better role to do that from than the six.

Bronico can still play the box-to-box midfield role at a high level, as CLTFC fans have seen in his recent performances when he shares the field with Derrick Jones. Still, Bronico has had the best season of his career playing mostly as the six and has become key to everything the Crown does on the pitch.

Mr. Reliable

Before we can talk about specific aspects of Bronico’s game, the obvious must be stated – availability is the best ability. Bronico personifies this as he currently sits as the outfield player with the seventh most minutes played (2,309) this season in all of MLS. If you exclude defenders from that list, he moves up to third.

While there is an element of luck to injuries, Bronico creates his own luck by taking obsessive-like care of his body.

“My body is my biggest asset after my mind. I have certain strength training regiments, pre-training exercises, and a strict diet that allows me to stay healthy and perform at a high level. Sometimes, injuries are inevitable, but I want to be sure I do everything in my power to stay as healthy as I can.”

However, Bronico wouldn’t be playing all these minutes if he wasn’t providing value on the pitch. That same reliability that shows in his health also shows in his play.

Disruptor and Connector

You can break down Bronico’s role into two words: disrupting and connecting. As a defensive midfielder, his primary job is to shield the backline from threats. Bronico does this in a variety of ways, whether it’s through applying pressure, stepping into passing lanes, or making tackles.

In short, he’s been a menace for opposing teams to bypass.

He currently ranks in the top five of most defensive metrics on the team:

  • 1st in Tackles
  • 1st in Successful Pressures
  • 2nd in Blocks
  • 3rd in Interceptions
  • 4th in Aerial Duals Won

The key to his defensive stoutness is due more to brain than brawn. Bronico’s ability to read the game helps him anticipate where the ball will end up. Which allows him to position accordingly to disrupt the play. However, the job’s not done when he wins the ball.

This is where the connecting begins. As the link between the defense and the midfield, Bronico is at the heart of the team’s build up evidenced by his 60.3 touches per 90 minutes. For perspective, the average amount of touches for a player is generally between 20 – 40.

“I always try to be available and be an option for my teammates whether they're in trouble or not. So, if they're getting pressed, I need to be over there so I can give them give them an option out of there, like a one-two, so we can get out of the situation.”

Bronico is consistently moving to make himself a passing outlet for teammates, but he also progresses the ball forward through his passing and dribbling. Once again, he ranks highly compared to his teammates in several connecting metrics.

  • 2nd in Progressive Passes
  • 2nd in Passes into Attacking Third
  • 2nd in Carries into Attack Third
  • 4th in Progressive Carries
  • 4th in Shot Creating Actions

His spatial awareness, first touch, and passing has allowed Bronico to help in unbalancing defenses in order to create openings for the teammates in front of him.

Bronico has a clear understanding of what is required as the six for CLTFC and developed his game to fit it to a tee, while also retaining the attacking flexibility to play well at the eight when required.


Bronico’s transformation is no accident. It’s a product of accumulating knowledge over the years from both personal experiences and mentors.

“Being in Chicago and learning from Bastian Schweinsteiger and Dax McCarty, playing under them and also playing with them, I felt like it really developed my game. Even this year, I can feel myself applying the concepts that I learned.”

These are concepts that interim head coach Christian Lattanzio reintroduced to him this season. Bronico has worked closely with Lattanzio, analyzing video alongside him and never ceasing to find ways to improve.

“You can really feel the belief from Lattanzio and, for me, having a coach believe in you like that just propels you to the next level. He's willing to invest in you, he's willing to work with you, and willing to give you opportunities - which I think I've taken advantage of.

“I think just having a coach that believes in you like Lattanzio, I think it really pushes not only me, but also the team to the next level.”

The mantra by which Bronico lives by is “Grindset”. He’s proved this season that, as cliché as it may be, hard work, determination, and never being satisfied can transform a player at any point in their career.

Bronico is making an impact in the community off the pitch by hosting his 1st Annual Grinds3t Party where all proceeds will go to 'Beds for Kids' of Charlotte, learn more HERE.