CHARLOTTE (Oct. 5, 2020) — Charlotte FC has signed its second-ever professional player, Australian attacking midfielder, Riley McGree.
The 21-year-old was signed by Charlotte FC from Adelaide United of Australia’s A-League. A highly coveted player in the transfer market, McGree is now under contract with Charlotte FC and will be placed on loan in the English Football League Championship at Birmingham City for the 2020/21 season.
In McGree’s professional club career, the left-footed midfielder has scored 26 goals in 89 matches (71 starts). Famous for his scorpion kick goal scored while on loan with the Newcastle Jets, McGree was nominated for the 2018 FIFA Puskas Award, recognizing the “most beautiful” goal on the calendar year across all divisions and leagues.
“Riley is a young international player who has already proven to be an impressive goal scorer,” said Charlotte FC Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “We are building our team with young talent that matches the aggressive style of play, and intensity in the game, that our fans will love to watch. Riley is a perfect fit for us, and we are thrilled to secure his signature for Charlotte FC with so many clubs in Europe fighting for him. His loan move to Birmingham City in England’s Championship, one of the top competitive soccer leagues in the world, will help Riley get to the top of his game and ready for our start in 2022.”
McGree began his professional career with Adelaide United in 2016, after originally joining the team’s youth academy in 2014. Following two successful seasons with the club’s first team, McGree gained international experience by signing with Club Brugge of the Belgian Pro League.
McGree returned to Adelaide United for a highly successful campaign in 2019/20, where he was named the Hyundai A-League Young Footballer of the Year. He finished the season as the team’s top goal scorer and was named the club’s most valuable player.
“I’m so excited to be part of something special with Charlotte FC,” said McGree. “The opportunity to play in a fast-growing league like MLS is perfect for me and I’ll give everything I have to make our fans proud. After speaking with Zoran and learning about the club’s ambitions and goals, I couldn’t be more thrilled to join this team.”
McGree captained Australia’s U23 side and in 2017, was called up to the full international squad for the first time leading up to a pair of 2018 World Cup qualifying matches. He is expected to be a key contributor for the Socceroos as the national team competes for a place at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
“Riley has a unique profile for a midfielder,” says Charlotte FC Director of Scouting Thomas Schaling. “The goal scoring ability in his game is obvious. He plays with a lot of depth without the ball and understands how and where to position himself in front of goal. He’s well known in Australia’s A-League and we’ve been scouting him for a long time.”
While on loan at Birmingham City, who currently rank eighth in the EFL, McGree will be coached by the highly respected Aitor Karanka. Karanka, a three-time UEFA Champions League winner as a player with Real Madrid, has familiarity with MLS after playing one season with the Colorado Rapids in 2006.
Charlotte FC is the 30th Major League Soccer franchise and begins play in 2022 at Bank of America Stadium. To place a season ticket membership deposit and secure seats for the team’s inaugural season, please visit charlottefootballclub.com/tickets. Deposits are available in three seating categories starting at $50 per account.