USA TOUR: Away days - Charlotte Independence

12th July

Charlotte Independence v Swansea City
Ramblewood Stadium, Wednesday, July 13, 7.30pm (US time)

Address: 10200 Nations Ford Road, Charlotte, NC 28273
Telephone: 001 704 206 1515
Website - Charlotte Independence

The opposition
The Charlotte Independence joined the United Soccer League (USL) as an expansion team in September 2014.
An ownership group led by Jim McPhilliamy, the President & Managing Partner of Major League Lacrosse's Charlotte Hounds, acquired the USL franchise rights for the city from the Charlotte Eagles in the summer of 2014.
The Independence, owned and operated by Queen City Soccer Club LLC, began play in spring 2015 while the Eagles moved to the USL Premier Development League.

Jacks v Jacks

While the Jack Army proudly follow the Swans, Charlotte have their own supporters group - Jack's Militia.
They were originally formed in the spring of 2012 as a meeting of friends to discuss how to grow and change the soccer landscape in Charlotte. The idea had everything to do with supporting of a local professional soccer team while having a great time doing so.
Jack's Militia believes in the game day soccer experience. From the pubs and parking lots to the bleachers, they believe in having a good time with anyone and everyone around - including Swansea City's very own 'Jack Army'.
For more information on Jack's Militia, click HERE

What's the stadium like?
Ramblewood Stadium is a temporary soccer facility located on Field 1 of the Mecklenburg County-owned Ramblewood Soccer Complex .
The stadium has a current capacity of 4,700 (4,250 seats plus standing-room only). There also are 38 handicap accessible seats available.
Seats - a mixture of benches and plastic seats - with standing room in each corner, are all the way around the pitch.
The Meck Deck is a standing room only section on a riser behind the goal opposite the main entrance, and is the home to 'Jack's Militia' - the rowdy part of the crowd. The view from this section is among the best you'll find.
There's a large souvenir tent just inside the stadium entrance. You can buy almost any form of Independence gear, t-shirts and clothes.

Stadium facts
Ramblewood Soccer Complex is a sports complex consisting of 11 football pitches.
The complex features a 4,300-seat football-specific stadium, which has been home to Charlotte Independence since 2015.
The stadium was built in early 2014, although the complex as a whole dates back to 1993.

How to get there
From the north: Take I-77 South to exit 4, Nations Ford Road. Turn left on Nations Ford Road. The Ramblewood entrance will be on the right around two miles on.
From the south: Take I-77 North to exit 1A-1B and keep right to continue on Exit 1A, following signs for Westinghouse Boulevard. Turn right onto Westinghouse Boulevard. After half a mile, turn left onto Nations Ford Road. The Ramblewood entrance is on the left around one-and-a-half miles on.
Parking: Anyone planning to park on site must purchased a parking pass in advance as spots are limited and there is only one entrance/exit.
Full transportation options are available HERE

The stadium is in a residential area between Westinghouse Boulevard and Interstates 77 and 485, leaving all of the action before and after the match in the car park.
Independence fans tend to drink at Courtyard Hooligans, which is ten miles from the stadium (zip code 28202)in Charlotte's Uptown district.
Charlotte has a huge food truck scene, and some of their finest turn up on matchdays. At least three trucks (Taco King and Bob's Brats for savoury tastes, King of Pops for your sweet tooth) make their way to each game.
The taco truck, which also sells nachos, is a huge hit. The bratwurst truck offers spicy Italian sausages ($5), German bratwursts ($5) and Angus hot dogs ($3). King of Pops sells sweets, crisps etc. Please note, the trucks only take cash.
The beer scene is just as big as the food truck scene in Charlotte, and three of the biggest names in the Queen City, NoDa Brewing, Birdsong Brewing and The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery are on sale.
Please note: Tipping in America is standard, whether it be a buying a meal or a couple of drinks.
For a sit-down, waiter-served meal 10 per cent usually means you aren't totally happy; 15 per cent usually means all was acceptable; 20 per cent for excellent; over 20 per cent for outstanding.; 15-20 per cent is considered normal.
For buying drinks at the bar, $1 per drink or 15-20 per cent of the bill is seen as the standard.

In America, tailgating isn't driving too close to the driver in front - it's a sports/eating/drinking experience! Basically, park up and get the food and refreshments out of the car and have a picnic in the car park (or parking lot).
It's not a minor thing, more so a huge social event with people sharing food and drinks, even cooking food on portable BBQ units.

Visiting Charlotte
Firstly, UK visitors to America need an ESTA, which is valid for two years and can be obtained online HERE - they cost $14. Background checks will be performed, no certificate is issued but details will be held electronically.
If you take Nations Ford Road south to Westinghouse Boulevard, then turn right and proceed to Interstate 77 southbound. The South Carolina state line is just one mile south, with the Carowinds Amusement Park (300 Carowinds Blvd, Fort Mill, SC 29708) which has rollercoasters and other such attractions. There's an online special offer, with two tickets for $63. The park is open 10am-10pm throughout July.
Charlotte-Douglas International Airport is minutes from the pitch. It's so close you can hear planes overhead during the match.
Visit Charlotte for full information on events, things to do and places to eat and stay.

Sports teams and venues
Carolina Panthers - NFL
Charlotte Hornets - NBA
Charlotte Hounds - Major League Lacrosse
Charlotte Checkers - American Hockey League
Charlotte Knights - International Baseball League
Charlotte Independence - United Soccer League
Charlotte Eagles - Premier Development Soccer League
Charlotte Lady Eagles - W-League
Charlotte Express - American Ultimate Disc League
NASCAR Hall of Fame museum

Did you know?
- NBA legend Michael Jordan, who went to college in North Carolina, is the owner of the Charlotte Hornets.
- During the Revolutionary War, a British force led by General Cornwallis held Charlotte for two and a half weeks, deciding to leave after enduring annoying attacks by locals. Cornwallis called Charlotte a "veritable nest of hornets," and the description stuck. The county seal, the Charlotte-Mecklenburg police insignia and various other things around town incorporate a hornets' nest.

Famous Charlotteans
Stephen Curry - NBA star (Golden State Warriors)
Ron "The Truth" Killings - professional wrestler
K-Ci & JoJo - R&B duo
Charlotte Flair (real name Ashley Elizabeth Fliehr) - WWE wrestler, and daughter of WWE hall of famer Ric Flair
Chelsea Cooley - Miss USA 2005