Defender Joel Johnson has re-signed with the Charlotte Independence, and will build on 125 career appearances in the Championship for the club as he enters his sixth season in Charlotte. | Photo courtesy Charlotte Independence
CHARLOTTE, N.C. – The Charlotte Independence announced on Thursday that defender Joel Johnson has signed a new contract and will be returning to the club for the 2021 USL Championship season, pending league and federation approval.
“I am very happy to be back with the Independence and help the team,” said Johnson. “I’m also excited for us to move to American Legion Memorial Stadium this season and I will do all I can to make us champions.”
Johnson first signed for the Independence on April 7, 2016. He has appeared in 125 career matches with the Jacks in the Championship, starting 119 times and playing 10,578 minutes. In 2020, the 28-year-old saw action in 14 USL Championship matches, starting all but one, and helped the Independence host their first home playoff match in club history.
“It’s fantastic to have Joel back,” said Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries. “He has been a mainstay of our group for more than five years. He is a tremendous asset on the right flank and his ability to play on both sides of the ball is at the top of the USL Championship. We look forward to having him back for 2021.”
Prior to joining the Independence, the Liberia international spent the 2017 season with Real Jaén of the Spanish Segunda Division B, making 16 appearances and recording 1,267 minutes.
Born in Spain, Johnson joined Valencia CF’s youth system at an early age and progressed through the ranks, making his professional debut with Valencia B at 17. He would go on to make 69 appearances for the Spanish third division side, recording 3,440 minutes from 2009-12. In 2010, he made his La Liga debut in a 0-0 draw with Racing de Santander.
Johnson moved to Real Madrid C in 2012 and made 50 appearances, before signing with Real Jaén in 2014.