By Tyler Trent
Quinn McNeill in his debut for Charlotte FC - photo courtesy of Charlotte FC
Charlotte FC declined options on defenders Christian Fuchs and Harrison Afful last month. Last week, Quinn McNeill and Koa Santos each had their options declined as well. While a declined option likely means these players won’t be back with Charlotte FC next season, it’s not a definite.
Harrison Afful and Christian Fuchs time with Charlotte FC could be over. Age would be the most likely factor in the decision as both Afful and Fuchs would turn 37 next season. However, there is still a chance we could see each for another year with a newly negotiated contract. With a newly negotiated contract, Charlotte could offer a reduced salary which would allow Charlotte to sign a much needed player at left back while still retaining a veteran backup in either Fuchs or Afful. Additionally, Fuchs has been working with his Fox Soccer Academy since 2014 to provide top level training for the next generation of soccer players. There is the potential that Charlotte FC could partner with Fuchs in some capacity or see him as an asset in a assistant role.
Koa Santos and Quinn McNeill’s options being declined might be a little more surprising. McNeill provided a spark in midfield during a turbulent time for the club amid departures. Santos, while he spent most of the season on loan with Charlotte Independence, is the departure of a young defender. While both of these players had their options declined, we could still see them back in Charlotte next season. With Charlotte set to announce branding of their MLS Next Pro team next month, we could see Santos and McNeill signed to a contract with the Next Pro squad if they don’t find other MLS or USL opportunities. MLS Next Pro had their inaugural season last year and serves to provide a step between academy level and professional soccer in MLS. Charlotte could still see potential in having these players around and developing at the Next Pro level and mentoring future stars for Charlotte such as our two homegrown signings Brian Romero and Nimfasha Berchimas.