CHARLOTTE, NC- The Charlotte Independence announced Tuesday that veteran midfielder and 2016 Independence fan favorite, Jorge Herrera, would be returning for the 2017 season, pending US Soccer and USL approval.
The Colombian-born Herrera will be returning for his third season with the Independence and as one of the most successful players in USL history slating 40 goals and 25 assists before his upcoming 11th season.
“I've been a part of the Independence since day one and it is an honor to be able to keep playing professional soccer with this organization,” Herrera said. “To be honest, I didn't choose the Independence, I just accepted a great invitation from my team.”
At 36-years-old, Herrera will return as one of the oldest players in the league, a fact that Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries is not concerned about.
“His fitness level and daily work rate would be top shelf for a 29-year-old, so we do not focus on his age,” Jeffries said. “In addition to his lengthy Charlotte experience, Jorge works to be a mentor to younger players in our group through his professionalism and his example.”
Herrera says his increasing age allows him an opportunity to play differently that he has in previous years.
“Last season was a different kind of season for me, I think my main input to our group was to be available for the coaching staff whenever they needed me during every game of the season,” Herrera said.
Herrera, who finished the 2016 season with seven goals and two assists, will be the 12th returning player for the Independence heading into the 2017 preseason.
“Having a big group of guys coming back is a big plus for the team. It is easier heading into the preseason with a group of friends that you have worked with for a whole season,” Herrera said. “Now, we can focus on continuing to grow as a team, instead of getting to know each other.”
Herrera says he is also looking forward to returning to the community that in voted him Team MVP and Fan Favorite in consecutive years.
“Not just for me, but for our team, it is an honor and privilege to have a group of supporters behind our backs pushing us forward and recognizing all the work we put in during the week,” Herrera said.
“We would love to see that group of fans continue to grow and to continue being a vital part of our Independence family.”