Charlotte gains Independence as Eagles' successor

[USL PRO] The Charlotte Independence will take the place of the Charlotte Eagles in USL PRO in 2015. The new team was introduced with an ownership group led by Jim McPhilliamy, the current president and managing partner of Major League Lacrosse’s Charlotte Hounds.

The Eagles, a division of Missionary Athletes International, are stepping aside to move to the PDL after 20 years as a pro club at the second or third division levels. They won titles in 2000 and 2005 and finished second seven other times, most recently in 2013 when they lost to Orlando City, 7-4 in the USL PRO final.

“USL is doubly delighted to welcome the Charlotte Independence into USL PRO and the Charlotte Eagles into the PDL,” USL CEO Alec Papadakis said. “These developments, along with Orlando City moving up to MLS and the Austin Aztex moving up from the PDL to USL PRO, demonstrate precisely the type of structure underneath MLS that will create a solid foundation for the future of American soccer.
 
The Independence will play at American Legion Memorial Stadium, which was built in 1934 and is used by the Hounds, who averaged 3,723 fans a game in 2014.

Charlotte is the sixth expansion team announced for 2015 after Austin, Colorado Springs, Louisville (which replaces MLS-bound Orlando City), St. Louis and Tulsa. Several MLS clubs are expected to launch second teams in USL PRO in 2015.

MLS's Colorado Rapids are expected to affiliate with the Independence, not the Colorado Springs Switchbacks. Colorado already has a Development Academy program it sponsors in the Charlotte area, the Charlotte Rapids.
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