Photo courtesy Matt May / Tampa Bay Rowdies
COMMERCE CITY, Colo. – Major League Soccer’s Colorado Rapids and the USL’s Charlotte Independence announced on Friday they had extended their partnership agreement through the 2018 season, continuing a relationship between the club that began in the Independence’s inaugural 2015 season.
Through the extended arrangement, the Rapids will loan multiple players to Charlotte with an option to recall those players at any time during the season. This past season, Dennis Castillo and Caleb Calvert both spent time in Charlotte, while Jaime Siaj – selected by the Rapids in the Third Round of the 2017 MLS SuperDraft – spent his rookie season with the Independence, making 19 appearances for the club.
“For the past three seasons, Charlotte Independence has provided our young players with a fantastic atmosphere to further strengthen their development,” Rapids Sporting Director and Interim General Manager, Pádraig Smith. “They have a very dedicated staff, and we are certain that this extension will only prove to be beneficial for both clubs.”
Photo courtesy Charlotte Independence
The Independence reached the USL Cup Playoffs for a second consecutive season this past year before falling in extra time in the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals. Led by Enzo Martinez, who was named a finalist for the USL Most Valuable Player award for the second consecutive year, the Independence recorded a club-record 12-game unbeaten streak from June 10 to August 9 to help propel the side to another successful season that also saw the team move into its new home at the Sportsplex at Matthews.
“We are very excited to continue our partnership with the Colorado Rapids,” said Independence President and Managing Partner, Jim McPhilliamy. “Our partnership allows us to continue to learn from the Rapids system and helps foster a winning environment that develops talent on the field. It is a win-win proposition that we are very happy will continue.”
Among those who have spent time on loan with the Independence previously are forward Dominique Badji, who this past season led the Rapids with nine goals and six assists, and midfielder Marlon Hairston, who finished second on the team in minutes played with 2,605 in 2017 as he appeared in every game of the regular season for Colorado.