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Temporary soccer stadium not yet ready for Charlotte Independence

Charlotte Independence midfielder Jack Thompson (right) beats Charleston Battery midfielder Zach Prince to the ball in the first half of United Soccer League game played at the Charlotte 49ers’ Transamerica Field. The team has also played at Winthrop University in Rock Hill this season.
Charlotte Independence midfielder Jack Thompson (right) beats Charleston Battery midfielder Zach Prince to the ball in the first half of United Soccer League game played at the Charlotte 49ers’ Transamerica Field. The team has also played at Winthrop University in Rock Hill this season.

The Charlotte Independence will have to wait at least another week for a temporary stadium at Ramblewood Soccer Complex to be completed.

Independence president Jim McPhilliamy said Monday that while construction for the 4,200-seat modular stadium is on schedule, inspection for American Disabilities Act compliance might not be completed in time for the facility to be opened for Saturday’s United Soccer League game against the Pittsburgh Riverhounds.

“We believe that even if there’s even a 10 percent chance it won’t get done, then it’s best not to risk it,” said McPhilliamy. “We needed to make the decision (Monday) so we wouldn’t be calling people at the last minute telling them the game had to be moved.”

Construction on the stadium began in earnest last week. McPhilliamy said the Nusli Group, a Switzerland-based group that specializes in building temporary sports arenas, was confident the stadium could be constructed in a week.

The Independence-Riverhounds game will instead be played at Winthrop in Rock Hill.

“I’m disappointed, but I was disappointed when we weren’t in it (at the beginning of the season),” said McPhilliamy. “It’s just hard to get stuff done.”

McPhilliamy said Independence fans he’s spoken with have generally been patient about the stadium situation.

“I think now that they see progress is being made, they’re a lot more tolerant of us,” said McPhilliamy. “Before they didn’t believe it was going to happen at all. But now they see the construction and they say they can wait one more week.”

McPhilliamy said he’s confident the stadium will be ready for the Independence’s next home game, against Charleston on June 20.

The Independence has played the first four of its 14-game USL home schedule (and one U.S. Open Cup match) at either UNC Charlotte or Winthrop. The team is scheduled to play at Memorial Stadium in 2016 if soccer-specific renovations are completed by then.

Scott: 704-358-5889; Twitter: @davidscott14

  

 

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