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Veteran Spanish defender Joel Johnson returns to Charlotte

By Staff, 02/14/23, 3:45PM EST


Liberian international spent six seasons with Jacks in USL Championship

Liberian international spent six seasons with Jacks in USL Championship | Image Credit: Louisville City FC

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Independence today announced the signing of Joel Johnson for the 2023 season. Johnson played with the Independence from 2016-2021 and made 150 appearances. In 2022, Johnson played with Hartford Athletic in the USL Championship. He appeared in 35 matches, and scored four goals and earned an assist with Harford.

“The return of Joel marks a great day for us. From his start with the Independence seven years ago, Joel has proven to be one of the top outside backs in the USL,” Charlotte Independence Head Coach Mike Jeffries said. “He brings energy daily and has a tremendous engine and work rate. Equally importantly, he adds quality to our possession with his ability to find passes, beat players, and make plays in the final third. Most importantly, Joel is a fantastic locker room presence – always positive, but also able to push players to be better.”

Johnson scored a combined three goals and earned 14 assists across six seasons with the Jacks. All three of his goals came during the 2021 season, including a goal in the 2021 USL Championship Playoffs against Memphis 901 FC in the club’s first-ever playoff win.

Johnson made his professional debut with Valencia B in the Spanish third tier at 17 in 2007. Johnson played a combined 44 matches with Valencia B in the Spanish third division. In 2010 he made his La Liga debut in a 0-0 draw with Real Racing Club and also appeared on the bench for Valencia in a pair of UEFA Europa League contests.

Before Johnson joined the Independence, he played with Real Madrid C from 2012-14 and made a combined 50 appearances with one goal. Johnson played with Real Jaén CF of the Spanish Segunda Division B in 2015 and scored one goal in 16 appearances before moving to CD Buñol later in the year.

Johnson has made eight appearances for the Liberia national team across 2018 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers, 2022 FIFA World Cup CAF qualifiers and international friendlies.

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