By Ryan Bailey

Charlotte FC midfielder Brandt Bronico has played every minute for the Charlotte Independence during his loan spell

CHARLOTTE—In December 2019, when it was officially announced that Major League Soccer was coming to Charlotte, Brandt Bronico already knew what his next career step would be.

“I called my agent as soon as they announced the team and said we need to get to Charlotte as soon as possible.”

Bronico, who was playing with the Chicago Fire at the time, would become Charlotte FC’s third addition to the inaugural roster within a year. To add to the excitement, the announcement was made on his wedding day.

“We made it happen,” said Bronico. “ It ended up working out and I’m super grateful for the opportunity.”

The Carolina native, whose MLS career started following a starring role with the Charlotte 49ers, has stayed local for the 2021 season, with a loan spell with the Charlotte Independence. The USL team has enjoyed a strong start to their USL campaign, with four wins in its opening six fixtures.

“It’s been going well,” says Bronico. “We’re getting used to each other and building chemistry as the season goes along. There’s definitely some good players I play with, and against. It’s been competitive so far.”

At the time of writing, Bronico has played every minute of the season. For a loan player looking to maintain fitness for Charlotte FC’s inaugural season, it is an ideal scenario.

“The goal was to get a lot of games and a lot of minutes, so I can come in flying in 2022.”

The midfielder, who celebrates his 26th birthday on June 20, benefits from regular in-person contact with the Charlotte FC front office thanks to his local loan spell.

“Marc [Nicholls] and Zoran [Krneta] check in on me all the time, probably once a week,” says Bronico. “I’ll come into the office or we’ll meet somewhere. I feel important to the club and I feel they care about me—they’re doing a great job on their end.”

Bronico’s excitement for next season is increased by the prospect of sharing the field with English Premier League winner Christian Fuchs, who formed a crucial part of Leicester City’s incredible title run in 2015-16.

“I think it’s amazing that Charlotte FC signed him,” enthuses Bronico. “I’ve exchanged a couple of messages with him and he seems like a really nice and down-to-earth guy. He has a lot of experience, and he’s got a winning mindset from playing in a winning culture.

“It’s great for a player of his stature to come in and guide us for the opening season. I think Charlotte hit the nail on the head with that signing.”

Bronico, who was first scouted by Charlotte FC Technical Director Marc Nicholls at the age of 12, is also excited for the arrival of the team’s first head coach.

“I can’t wait to see who it is!” he says. “When a coach comes in, we’ll get an even better idea of how the team will shape up, what style we’ll play, and what mind of players he wants. So it’s a massive deal—especially for an expansion side.”

For now, Bronico is focusing on his season with the Independence, who are scheduled to debut at the newly American Legion Memorial Stadium in the Elizabeth neighborhood on July 7.

“I can’t wait to start playing soccer in Uptown. Then, it will feel like I’m truly back, playing soccer in Charlotte.”