Matthews (N.C.) — The grand opening of the Charlotte Independence's brand new home was well worth wait as the Jacks christened the Sportsplex at Matthews with a 2-0 win against the Harrisburg City Islanders on Saturday night.
In the Independence's three-year history, they have played their home games at Ramblewood Soccer Complex, UNC Charlotte and Winthrop, but now they have a place to truly call home.
"This feels complete," said Independence defender and captain Bilal Duckett. "Playing at a college campus, every time you play at a college campus you know that's theirs, that's not really ours. This feels like ours. Today is special because they have the big inaugural opening, but there are already people out, the locals are all over the stadium.
"You feel like it's your place, you come in and you are already comfortable."
Saturday night was equal parts soccer match and party as the Sportsplex at Matthews was lined with food trucks and vendors and live music blasted just outside the gates. A Charlotte Independence regular-season record 2,468 fans took in the night.
"It feels great out there," said Jorge Herrera, who scored the stadium's inaugural goal and assisted on a second. "It felt great tonight that we could call the place home and I'm so glad, and I know on behalf of my team, we're so glad that a lot of people responded to our call. They know that they have a team that they can call on and support and they can be a part of it."
The Jacks will return to the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, July 1st as they will host the Rochester Rhinos and again one week later on Saturday, July 8th to host Saint Louis FC. They'll be looking to keep their record unbeaten inside the friendly confines of the Sportsplex at Matthews.
"This is fantastic and the guys are so excited and it just feels so positive — the whole atmosphere," said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. "The Sportsplex, the stadium, the field everything is a step up for us. It will take a while to settle in of course, we have a few kinks to work out on our end but it was fantastic."