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Defender Joel Johnson Re-Signs With Independence for 2021

By Charlotte Independence Communications, 03/25/21, 12:45PM EDT


USL Championship veteran defender helped Independence host first home playoff match in club history last season.

March 25, 2021 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Charlotte Independence announced today that defender Joel Johnson has signed a new contract and will be returning to the club for the 2021 season, pending league and federation approval.

“I am very happy to be back with the Independence and help the team,” said Johnson. “I’m also excited for us to move to American Legion Memorial Stadium this season and I will do all I can to make us Champions.”

Johnson, 28, first signed for the Independence on April 7, 2016. He has appeared in 125 career matches with the Jacks in USL Championship action, starting 119 times and playing 10, 578 minutes. In 2020, the defender saw action in 14 USL Championship matches, starting all but one, and helped the Independence host its first home playoff match in club history.

“It’s fantastic to have Joel back,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “He has been a mainstay of our group for more than five years. He is a tremendous asset on the right flank and his ability to play on both sides of the ball is at the top of the USL Championship. We look forward to having him back for 2021.”

Prior to joining the Independence, the Liberia international spent the 2017 season with Real Jaén of the Spanish Segunda Division B, making 16 appearances and recording 1,267 minutes.

Johnson, born in Spain, joined Valencia CF’s youth system at an early age and progressed through the ranks, making his professional debut with Valencia B at 17. He would go on to make 69 appearances for the Spanish third division side, recording 3,440 minutes from 2009-12. In 2010, he made his La Liga debut in a 0-0 draw with Racing de Santander.

Johnson moved to Real Madrid C in 2012 and made 50 appearances, before signing with Real Jaén in 2014.

Johnson joins Jake Areman, Brandt Bronico (on loan from Charlotte FC), Clay Dimick, Junior Etou, Enzo Martinez, Brandon Miller, Austin Pack, Marcelo Palomino (on loan from Houston Dynamo FC), Hugh Roberts, Kevin Riascos, Valentin Sabella (currently loaned to Cancun FC), and Thomas de Villardi on the list of players confirmed for the 2021 season, as the club continues to negotiate with additional players.


Name: Joel Johnson

Position: Defender  

Birthdate: September 20, 1992 (age: 28)

Birthplace: Spain

Height: 5' 11"


Goalkeeper – Austin Pack, Brandon Miller

Defender – Clay Dimick, Joel Johnson, Kevin Riascos, Hugh Roberts, Thomas de Villardi

Midfielder – Jake Areman, Brandt Bronico, Junior Etou, Enzo Martinez, Marcelo PalominoValentin Sabella

Forward –

The Independence will make the 2021 campaign its first season at the brand new American Legion Memorial Stadium. The $40 million entire rebuild of the historic venue which began last September is close to completion and is set to open a new chapter for the Jacks.

Located in Uptown Charlotte, the new venue will have a capacity of 10,500 including standing area, and the type of amenities that have become standard at new venues across the Championship in recent years. Among them, a first for the Independence, will be a full video scoreboard and views of the surrounding city skyline that will make for a memorable experience on game-nights and at other events.

2021 Season Tickets are now on sale to the general public here.

ABOUT CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE: The Charlotte Independence professional soccer team joined the United Soccer League (USL) Championship as an expansion team in September 2014. An ownership group led by Jim McPhilliamy, the President & Managing Partner of Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds, acquired the USL franchise rights from the Charlotte Eagles. McPhilliamy and his investment group founded Queen City Sports Club with the goal of making Charlotte a better place to live through annual increases in both the quality and quantity of events that are provided for the community.

In the fall of 2018, Queen City Sports Club and the Charlotte Independence signed a 10-year lease to move to American Legion Memorial Stadium following a revitalization of the historic landmark set for the spring of 2021. The Independence is focused on building the profile of the club through culture, community and performance as the team moves to American Legion Memorial Stadium. For details on 2021 Season Memberships, visit or call 704-206-1515.