Includes two players on loan from MLS club, Charlotte FC
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (April 24, 2022) – The Charlotte Independence announced today the addition of three new players to the 2022 roster. Forward Khori Bennett joins the Jacks’ attack while goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas and defender Koa Santos strengthen the back line. Zendejas and Santos are currently on loan from MLS Club, Charlotte FC.
“With his pace and box presence, Khori brings a different dimension to our attack,” explained Charlotte Independence Head Coach, Mike Jeffries. “Not only does he have the technical abilities in front of goal, but Khori has the desire of a player who will do what he can to make an impact with us and work his way up the ladder.”
Bennett joins the Independence after a previous stint with Philadelphia Fury in the National Independent Soccer Association. Bennett started his college career at Northeastern University where he scored five goals and three assists for the Howlin’ Huskies across three seasons. He later transferred to Radford University and scored three goals with one assist across 15 starts for the Highlanders.
“I would like to thank Coach Mike and the whole coaching staff for this opportunity,” Bennett said. “I am excited to play in front of our amazing fans and to help the team achieve all our goals. I am looking forward to scoring a lot of goals and giving my 100% every day for this team.”
Santos comes to the Independence squad on loan from Charlotte FC after the two clubs announced an affiliation agreement in early April. He recently concluded his collegiate soccer career at San Diego State University.
“Koa is a very technical outside defender with excellent attacking qualities. We anticipate his ability to get up and down the line and create in the final third will be impactful for us,” stated Jeffries. “His ability to take players on and create for himself and others adds another dimension to our attack; his concentration, athleticism, and ability to handle 1 v. 1s will be a positive influence on our team defending.”
Santos became a mainstay for San Diego State across his four years. In his final collegiate season, Santos started in 15 matches, appeared in all 17, and scored one goal with two assists. Across his college career, Santos scored two goals and earned three assists.
“I’m looking forward to being a part of this new affiliation and helping the team achieve its goals while gaining professional experience and building my leadership on the field through games with the Independence,” Santos said.
Santos also spent time with the Portland Timbers U23 in USL League Two and led the Timbers to a Western Conference Final appearance in the 2021 playoffs. Santos was invited to the MLS College Showcase where he was later signed by Charlotte FC.
Zendejas, also on loan from Charlotte FC, began his professional career with Swope Park Rangers in the USL Championship and led the Rangers to the USL Cup Final in 2016, and again in 2017.
While with Swope Park Rangers, Zendejas spent time with Sporting Kansas City in Major League Soccer. While with the club, he appeared in two US Open Cup matches, both wins for Sporting, and appeared in CONCACAF Champions League against Panamanian side C.A. Independiente. He made one appearance in the MLS regular season, a 1-1 draw against FC Cincinnati.
“Having Adrian join us is a huge coup for our team. He brings the experience of over 50 USL Championship games to our roster,” Jeffries said. “Importantly, he is an excellent communicator and can help organize a young back line. His qualities – strong shot stopper, comfortable collecting crosses off his line, as well as capable and comfortable playing from the back fit our style of play well.”
The Charlotte Independence continue their 2022 season on Monday, April 25 against the Richmond Kickers. To view the full schedule and purchase your tickets, please visit charlotteindependence.com/uslleagueoneschedule.