CHARLOTTE — Brandt Bronico will spend the 2021 season on loan with the Charlotte Independence, the club confirmed on Wednesday.

The midfielder, who became Charlotte FC’s third signing to the inaugural roster in December 2020, will train and play with the USL Championship side in preparation for the 2022 season.

“The Charlotte Independence is a perfect fit for Brandt,” said Charlotte FC Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “Not only does the loan provide an opportunity for Charlotte soccer fans to see him in action, but the USL represents a competitive league environment. We believe Brandt will help our neighbors at the Independence this season, and will return ready for our preseason in January 2022.”

The Carolina native, who was raised in High Point, N.C., played four seasons (2017-20) in Major League Soccer with the Chicago Fire. The 25-year-old represented the Charlotte 49ers at the collegiate level, and played youth soccer for the NC Fusion and Carolina Dynamo under current Charlotte FC Technical Director Marc Nicholls.

“This loan move is great news for both clubs, and the soccer community of Charlotte,” said Nicholls. “It gives Brandt much-needed game minutes and allows him to integrate back into a community he knows well. We’re really excited about this deal with the Independence and look forward to watching them play in 2021.”

Founded in 2014, the Independence will play their 2021 home games at Memorial Stadium in Charlotte’s Elizabeth neighborhood.

“We are ecstatic about being able to work with Charlotte FC to allow Brandt to stay in Charlotte for this season,” said Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “Brandt is a huge addition to our roster, not only as a player in his prime with significant MLS experience, but his style meshes perfectly with how we play.”

Bronico made 66 appearances for the Chicago Fire, often playing in midfield alongside World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger. He joined Chicago as a third-round pick (47th overall) in the 2017 SuperDraft.

“I wanted to be back in Charlotte playing soccer, so I’m grateful to be signing on loan with the Independence this year,” said Bronico. “It means a lot to be able to remain in the city, and I’m thrilled to continue my journey within Charlotte’s growing soccer community.”