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Reflecting On A Beautiful Year One

Image courtesy of Charlotte FC

What makes a successful season? Is it playoffs? Is it a championship? Is it the comradery? It depends who you ask.

With a hard-fought 2-2 draw with the Columbus Crew, Charlotte FC was officially eliminated from playoff contention. This team’s goal from the start was to host a home playoff game in their first season. They fell short of the playoffs altogether, but this year was still a success to most.

It was a turbulent season for Charlotte that saw many highs and some lows, but it was still one to be proud of and build on. From the team’s first official MLS match in DC, the highest attended MLS game in history, an early coaching change, a last gasp playoff push, and everything in between – Charlotte made it a season to remember. Friendships were born and strangers became family. Although the season is over for Charlotte, the comradery will continue and soccer will continue to grow in the Queen City.

The Supporters

When Charlotte was announced as the newest MLS expansion team in 2019, no one expected that the team would get a delayed start in 2022 due to the COVID Pandemic. However, that only let the excitement continue to brew in the Carolinas until it was ready to explode in the inaugural season.

That excitement helped lead to Charlotte FC setting the MLS attendance record with 74,479 fans in their first ever home game against the LA Galaxy. Moments before the game, a new tradition was born when the national anthem performer, Michelle Brooks-Thompson, microphone cut off early in the song. However, the supporters throughout the stadium were there to finish it together and continued to do so for the rest of season.

The supporters showed out for every single game despite numerous rain delays to cheer on their team for 90 minutes and sometimes even more. Hours were poured into writing songs and creating tifos to cheer on the team and create an atmosphere everyone could be proud of. Supporters put in hundreds of hours of community service and fundraising efforts to benefit the community and will continue to do so through the offseason. Finishing with the second highest attendance of the season with 35,260, the fans were always there to back the team. That didn’t just happen at home either, Charlotte was well represented throughout the season by our passionate fans in enemy territory as well!

Image courtesy of Charlotte FC

The Players

No one could have predicted the difference between the roster that started in Charleston for preseason compared to the team who finished the season in New York on Sunday. Charlotte first-ever signing Sergio Ruiz didn’t make it through the full season along with Alan Franco, Christian Makoun, and Titi Ortiz. However, along the way Charlotte was able to add some quality players to the lineup including Derrick Jones, Kamil Jóźwiak, Quinn McNeill, Kerwin Vargas, Andre Shinyashiki, Nathan Byrne, Adilson Malanda, and Nuno Santos. The importance these players played throughout the season should give a lot of hope to fans of the black and blue as they all played very key roles throughout the season while being thrown into a somewhat difficult transition for a team.

While we lost some players along the way, this squad will forever be Charlotte FC’s first and the fight the team provided down the stretch will be remembered forever. The progression of the squad throughout the year and especially Brandt Bronico, Karol Świderski, Derrick Jones, Adilson Malanda, McKinze Gaines, and Daniel Ríos down the final stretch was immense and the team is trending upwards heading into year two.

By the end of the season, you could really see the roster beginning to take shape. With a few key additions in the offseason, this team should be fully capable of meeting their year one goal of hosting a playoff game. TopBin90 will be doing a breakdown of the roster, expansion draft, transfer targets, and contract situations during the offseason to keep the fans up to date on the latest squad information!

Image courtesy of Charlotte FC

The Team Behind the Team

The people behind the club who have helped to connect the supporters to the club have been irreplaceable. Whether it be the beloved Digital & Creative team that used their skills to capture the emotions of the players and fans throughout the season, the broadcast team of Lloyd Sam, Eric Krakauer, and Katie Witham, the Chief Fan Officer Shawn and Fan Experience Coordinator Nezzie, or any of the other departments that helps to make the club run and shine behind the scenes, Charlotte was overflowing with off-the-field talent this year.

The importance of the team behind the team can never be understated and everyone is so thankful for them. Often times, these talents aren't recognized, but the Charlotte fanbase has done a great job recognizing and applauding them throughout the year for their efforts to help build and connect the players, supporters, and outside community with the magic of the Queen City and Charlotte FC.

The Future

Thank you so much to everyone who has supported TopBin90 and Charlotte FC this season! The offseason will seem long, but the wait will be worth it. TopBin90 will be keeping you up to date on the latest transfer news and speculation, MLS Playoffs, World Cup content, and much more as we move toward an even better year two.

If you haven’t, be sure to take a moment to watch this beautiful season recap video shared by the club as well!