April 27, 2021 (CHARLOTTE, N.C.) — Charlotte Independence announced today the acquisition of midfielder Distel Zola on a season-long loan from USL Championship side El Paso Locomotive FC, pending league and federation approval.
“Distel brings a different element to our midfield which will really help us this season,” said Charlotte Independence General Manager and Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “We jumped at the opportunity to have him join us on loan and we feel that he will give us the ability to change the rhythm of the game in the midfield which will be a plus as the season goes on.”
The 32-year-old joins the Independence after one season with Locomotive FC – which included 11 appearances for the former Ligue 1 defensive midfielder. Prior to joining Locomotive FC, he spent the 2018-2019 season in France with Tours FC.
“I’m really happy to join this family,” said Zola. “I can already feel a good atmosphere here with my new teammates, the coaches, and the city. I can’t wait for the season to start so I can give my all and help the team in any way I can.”
Zola began his professional career with AS Monaco FC of Ligue 1, the top tier of French football, where he played from 2009-11. After leaving Monaco in 2012, Zola continued his career in the French football system, spending time with AS Nancy, Le Havre AC, LB Châteauroux.
Outside of France, Zola signed with Turkish club Samsunspor in July of 2015 where he spent two seasons and made 17 appearances across all competitions.
Zola featured for the French youth national team at the U16, U17, U18, and U19 level before switching his International allegiance to the Democratic Republic of Congo where he has appeared for the national team 21 times.
Zola joins Jake Areman, Brandt Bronico (on loan from Charlotte FC), Christian Dean, Clay Dimick, Shalom Dutey, Junior Etou, Joel Johnson, Enzo Martinez, Tresor Mbuyu, Brandon Miller, Austin Pack, Marcelo Palomino (on loan from Houston Dynamo FC), Noah Paravicini, Irvin Parra, 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: Distel Zola
Birthdate: February 5, 1989 (age: 32)
Birthplace: DR Congo
Height: 6' 0"
CURRENT 2021 CHARLOTTE INDEPENDENCE ROSTER
Goalkeeper – Brandon Miller, Austin Pack
Defender – Christian Dean, Clay Dimick, Shalom Dutey, Joel Johnson, Kevin Riascos, Hugh Roberts, Thomas de Villardi
Midfielder – Jake Areman, Brandt Bronico, Junior Etou, Enzo Martinez, Marcelo Palomino, Noah Paravicini, Valentin Sabella, Distel Zola
Forward – Tresor Mbuyu, Irvin Parra
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 charlotteindependence.com or call 704-206-1515.