CHARLOTTE (N.C) - The Charlotte Independence released their preseason schedule on Friday. Two exhibition games feature fixtures against MLS sides Columbus Crew SC and 2017 expansion club Atlanta United FC. The Independence will also take on the North American Soccer League’s (NASL) North Carolina FC (NCFC) and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (UNC) Men’s Soccer team.
2017 Charlotte Independence Preseason Schedule
- Saturday, February 25th: vs. Columbus Crew- 10:30 am (Charleston, SC)
- Saturday, March 4th: vs. University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill- 2:00 pm (Wingate, NC)
- Saturday, March 11th: at North Carolina FC- 2:00 pm (Cary, NC)
- Sunday, March 19th: at Atlanta United FC- 2:00 pm (Atlanta, GA)
This will be the third and fourth matchups the Independence makes against MLS clubs, with the first two coming versus the New England Revolution and Chicago Fire in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“I’m excited about the start of the season and the preseason,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “Playing against a MLS reserve team right away will maybe be earlier than we’re ready for, but it’ll be good motivation for the guys to come into camp.”
In 2016, the Columbus Crew finished ninth in the Eastern Conference following their Conference Championship the year prior. The MLS side includes 2015 MLS Best XI and MLS All-Star selection Ethan Finlay.
Atlanta United FC enters the preseason as one of two newcomers to the MLS. Atlanta’s team features current U.S. Men’s National team defender Greg Garza. In the inaugural preseason game, Atlanta beat Chattanooga FC 4-0 last Saturday.
The Independence faced off with both NCFC and UNC in the 2016 preseason. Charlotte last faced their in-state rivals, formerly the Carolina Railhawks, in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup last summer which resulted in a 5-0, overtime victory for the Cary-based team. UNC reached the 2016 NCAA Division-1 Men’s Soccer Championship Semi-Finals and had two players selected in the first two rounds of the MLS SuperDraft last January.
Charlotte is slated to start their training camp next Monday, February 20th. The Independence will begin their third season in the United Soccer League at home on Saturday, April 1st versus the Charleston Battery. The team has also announced they will be moving to a new home stadium in the Sportsplex at Matthews on Saturday, June 17th. Regular season tickets are currently on sale.