The Charlotte Independence began a new era over the weekend, as the team made its debut at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
In February, the Independence announced that they were planning to shift to a new home facility. The team revealed that it intended to move all home matches to the Sportsplex at Matthews, beginning with the Saturday, June 17 contest against the Harrisburg City Islanders.
In 2016, the Indpendence held their home games at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex in Charlotte. Prior to Saturday’s game, the team played eight of its first 12 matches of 2017 on the road, with three of its four home games taking place at Winthrop University.
Saturday’s debut at the 2,500-seat stadium at Sportsplex at Matthews was celebrated by a grand opening event and ultimately a win, as the Independence prevailed over Harrisburg by a final of 2-0 in front of a crowd of 2,648 fans. For Independence players like defender Bilal Ducket, the move to the new facility was something to celebrate. More from The Charlotte Post:
Charlotte called three previous venues home in their first three seasons – Charlotte 49ers’ Transamerica Field, Winthrop’s Eagle Field and Ramblewood—where the club played in a temporary stadium that never saw completion, and has since been torn down.
“This is the first time where it’s felt like we’ve had a home,” Duckett said. “Ramblewood was great, but it was never really finished. So you come in and you see the side of the stadium isn’t done, and you see the plywood on the press box, and nothing against that, but this feels complete. Playing at a college campus, every time you come into a college campus, you know that it’s theirs. It’s not really yours. This feels like ours.”
A high turnout among fans was anticipated prior to the game, as the Independence had announced on Friday evening that the match would be played before a sold out crowd. Saturday’s game marked the Independence’s first of 12 matches during their 2017 slate that will be played at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
Image courtesy Charlotte Independence.