Colorado Rapids Soccer Club and Charlotte Independence of the United Soccer League (USL) have announced that their affiliation agreement will not be renewed for 2019. In doing so, the affiliation - which began in 2015 - will conclude at the end of the 2018 MLS and USL seasons. Most recently, Caleb Calvert, Andrew Dykstra, Ricardo Perez and Sam Vines spent the 2018 season on loan in Charlotte. First team contributors Dominique Badji and Marlon Hairston each spent time with the Independence prior to earning starting roles with the Rapids first team.
“Charlotte has been a fantastic affiliate for us,” said Rapids Senior Director of Soccer Development Brian Crookham. “Coach Jeffries and his staff have created a professional environment that has allowed us to challenge and develop our young professionals at a key point in their development."
In the past four seasons, 15 different Rapids players were loaned to the Independence. Rapids players earned a total of 286 appearances and nearly 18,000 minutes while on loan in Charlotte. Additionally, four Development Academy players were rostered to the Independence as amateurs during this period, most notably Sam Vines, who featured in his first Major League Soccer match on October 21 against the San Jose Earthquakes and is currently in the pool for the U-20 US national team.
“We want to thank Independence President and Managing Partner Jim McPhilliamy, Chief Financial Officer Bruce Cairnduff and General Manager Tom Engstrom, as well as the Charlotte Independence ownership group for their tremendous support,” said Rapids Executive Vice President and General Manager Pádraig Smith. “While the formal affiliation will end, it is certain that we will continue to work together in the sport on future projects.”
The Rapids will announce their future USL affiliation plans in the coming weeks.