Charlotte FC have transferred midfielder Sergio Ruiz to Spanish second division side Granada CF, the club announced Tuesday.

Ruiz was Charlotte’s first player signing in July 2020, playing on loan with Las Palmas in the Segunda Division before joining the Queen City’s expansion project.

The 27-year-old had one goal and three assists across 18 matches (seven starts) with Charlotte.

“It is a sad moment to be leaving Charlotte FC and this club and city will forever hold a special place in my heart. An offer was presented to me to return to Spain which is the best option for my family at this time in our lives,” Ruiz said in a release.

“Playing at Bank of America Stadium in front of the amazing fans here in Charlotte was one of the most rewarding parts of my career. You welcomed me in from the day I signed and could truly feel the love and support you have shown me and the rest of the team.”

Ruiz’s departure follows a swing of summertime exits from Charlotte FC, including midfielders Alan Franco (loan to CA Talleres in Argentina) and Titi Ortiz (waived). Defender Christian Makoun was also traded to the New England Revolution.

“Sergio is a prime example of what it means to be a professional footballer in how he carries himself both on and off the pitch. It was a pleasure to have him represent Charlotte FC and it is a bittersweet moment to see him depart the club,” sporting director Zoran Krneta said in a release.

“A transfer away from Charlotte FC was in the best interest for his family and career, and we look forward to seeing him continue his professional journey back home in Spain. On behalf of the entire organization, I would like to thank him for being an integral part of the club’s inaugural season and forever being a part of our history.”

Charlotte are in the thick of an Audi MLS Cup Playoffs race, sitting one point back of the Eastern Conference’s pace. They have 10 matches remaining in their inaugural campaign and hold 29 points (9W-13L-2D) while occupying 11th place.