Charlotte (N.C.) — The Charlotte Independence announced Friday the signing of defender, Ashani Fairclough, pending USL and US Soccer approval. The Portmore, Jamaica native last played in 2016 for Wilmington Hammerheads FC. In league play last season, the 24 year-old recorded 2,133 minutes played, five goals, and one assist in 24 competitions.
“I jumped at the opportunity to play for Charlotte, so I'm excited to be here,” said Fairclough. “I've played against the Independence a few times, so I know a few guys on the team.”
Fairclough says his extended offseason gave him time to rest up and reenergize for the upcoming season, but knows coming into the team late means he has additional work to do.
"It's always going to take some time to get your feet underneath you and get going again, but you have to be ready to play when you're called upon," said Fairclough. "With the way [Coach Jeffries] likes to play out of the back with athletic defenders, I think I'll fit in with this team."
As the captain of the 2007-08 Jamaican U-17 team, Fairclough competed in CONCACAF U-17 World Cup in 2008. He was also member of the 2009 Jamaican U-20 National Team.
Fairclough graduated high school at 15-years-old, and attended college at the University of South Florida when he was 16-years-old, playing collegiately from 2009-12. In a four-year career, Fairclough appeared in 73 games and totaled two goals with ten assists for the Bulls. During his college career, Fairclough competed for the VSI Tampa Flames of the Premier Development League in 2011.
As a rookie, Fairclough signed with the Seattle Sounders, but did not record any playing time with the first team. After joining Wilmington the following season, Fairclough was named to the First Team USL PRO in 2014.
Fairclough will join the Independence as they take on the Tampa Bay Rowdies this Sunday at Winthrop University. The Independence will move to their new home stadium at the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, June 17th. Live music will precede the game with post-game fireworks. Tickets are on sale now.