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Report: Charlotte Independence following Orlando City SC's path in hope of future MLS expansion bid -

Even with only 14 matches under their belt in their expansion MLS season, here's just how successful Orlando City have proven to be: Other clubs want to be the next Orlando City.


New USL side Charlotte Independence have made it clear they want follow the Lions’ roadmap and work their way to joining MLS.


OCSC’s path to MLS is well known. As a highly successful and popular club in USL with a strong core of loyal supporters, the club was able to win a bid to become an MLS expansion side. It's a formula that worked for NASL club Minnesota United FC, which in March was awarded an MLS expansion slot for the 2018 season, and the USL’s Sacramento Republic SC, who regularly draw 10,000 fans per game and are vying for a spot in MLS.


Charlotte Independence founder Jim McPhilliamy now wants to be the next member of that group, as detailed in a report on Charlotte public radio station WFAE 90.7 and WFAE.org.


Report: Charlotte Independence following Orlando City SC's path in hope of future MLS expansion bid -

According to the report, the Independence, who are new to USL this season, are focusing their marketing plan around fans in the 18-to-35 age demographic, highlighting
supporters group Jack’s Militia
.

“Even if you listen to our advertising, we don’t actually promote our product, we promote Jack’s Militia,” says McPhilliamy, a former NBA Charlotte Bobcats executive and consultant for NASCAR and Major League Baseball.


The Independence have yet to move into their own stadium, and their plans for a temporary home at Ramblewood Soccer Complex have been delayed, forcing them to play their early games in the 2015 season at nearby colleges. But once their stadium is complete, expected this month, McPhilliamy is hoping to draw 4,000 fans to a game.


The team is also in talks with Mecklenburg County to split a $4 million cost to renovate Memorial Stadium in Elizabeth, N.C., and make it their permanent home beginning in 2016.


“Our goal is to get to MLS,” McPhilliamy said. “Nobody in our investment group expects that we’re going to take money out as a USL team. Everything will get reinvested into making MLS.”