Construction has begun in earnest on the Charlotte Independence’s new temporary home at Ramblewood Soccer Complex.
Team officials say they hope the modular stadium can be finished by the Independence’s next home game,June 13 against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.
“I wouldn’t say we’re 100 percent convinced, but the builders are convinced, so we’re hopeful,” said Independence president Jim McPhilliamy.
The stadium is being built by the Switzerland-based Nusli Group, which has constructed temporary facilities for the World Cup, the Olympics and pro tennis tournaments.
County-permit delays pushed backthe start of construction of the stadium, which will seat 4,300 and cost about $1.5 million. Two small bleacher sections had been put in place over the last several weeks, but McPhilliamy said he’s been assured by Nusli that the remainder can be competed in a week. The goal is for the Independence to receive a certificate of occupancy on June 12.
McPhilliamy said he and Nusli representatives will decide Monday if construction has progressed enough to commit to playing at Ramblewoodnext Saturday. If not, the Pittsburgh game will likely be played at the Queens Sports Complex.
The Independence is waiting for soccer-specific renovations in Memorial Stadium to be completed in time for the 2016 season.
The Independence, which has played its first five home games at UNC Charlotte and Winthrop, will play the remainder of the season in the temporary stadium.
▪ Charlotte (2-3-3) plays at Richmond on Sunday. The Independence and Kickers have split two games so far this season, with the Kickers winning 3-0 in Richmond, Va., in April, and the Independence also winning 3-0 at Winthrop in May.
▪ After the Pittsburgh game next week, the Independence will travel to Foxborough, Mass., to play Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution in a U.S. Open Cup game on June 17.
▪ Negotiations are underway for the Independence to play FC Montreal in Bank of America Stadium on July 25 following the International Champions Cup game between Chelsea and Paris Saint-Germain.
▪ Goalkeeper Diego Restrepo has been granted a transfer to Metropolitanos FC of Venezuela’s first division. Restrepo, a native of Merida, Venezuela, played in three games with the Independence this season, with four saves and allowing one goal.
▪ The Independence signed goalkeeper Andrew Pannenberg to an amateur contract. Pannenberg plays for the Charlotte Soccer Academy and has experience with the U.S. under-17 team.
▪ Novant Health has signed on to be a corporate partner of the Independence.