Before Christian Fuchs competes with MLS expansion side Charlotte FC during their inaugural 2022 season, the left back has joined nearby USL Championship side Charlotte Independence for the remainder of the 2021 campaign, it was announced Tuesday.

The 35-year-old originally signed with Charlotte FC in June after his time with Leicester City wound down, a club where he won the 2015-16 Premier League title and the 2020-21 English FA Cup. At the international level, Fuchs recorded one goal in 78 appearances for Austria.

“This is a great opportunity for Christian, as a former Premier League winner, to maintain both his fitness level and focus in preparation for the start of Charlotte FC’s preseason training in January 2022,” Charlotte FC sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a release.

The Independence feature in the Atlantic Division of the USL Championship’s Eastern Conference. The second-division side began competing in 2015 and has made the conference quarterfinals on three occasions.

“Being able to add a player of Christian’s caliber and experience to our roster is a huge win for the Independence,” Independence head coach Mike Jeffries said in a release. “We are delighted to have him join our group.

“In addition to his on-field experience and ability, Christian is a consummate professional. His quality of play, experience with top clubs, and leadership adds tremendously to our group. I wish to thank Zoran Krneta and the Charlotte FC staff for working with us to bring Christian onto our roster.”

Charlotte FC, who recently hired Miguel Angel Ramirez as their first head coach, have a number of pre-signed players on loan. Midfielder Brandt Bronico and defender Adam Armour also play for the Independence, while midfielders Riley McGree (Birmingham City) and Sergio Ruiz (Las Palmas) are staying in form in European leagues.

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