Press Release

New Independent Club led by soccer legend Eddie Pope to join MLS NEXT Pro in 2024

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Carolina Core FC Based in High Point, NC Becomes Second Independent Club in MLS NEXT Pro -

NEW YORK CITY (November 10, 2022) – MLS NEXT Pro announced today that a new independent club will join the League in 2024. Carolina Core FC, based in High Point, NC, becomes the second independent club to join MLS NEXT Pro. The first, Rochester New York FC, qualified for the playoffs in its first season in 2022. 

"MLS NEXT Pro has four pillars – player development, our local communities, innovation, and a commitment to Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. When we started engaging with Megan Oglesby and Mayor Wagner, it became clear to us from our first meeting that we are aligned at all levels.” said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. “Strong independent teams are a critical component of our growth strategy for MLS NEXT Pro, and we are confident that Carolina Core FC will overdeliver both on the field and in the community.”

Soccer legend Eddie Pope – member of the National Soccer Hall of Fame, three-time MLS Cup Champion and three-time FIFA World Cup participant – returns to his hometown of High Point, NC to serve as Chief Sporting Officer for Carolina Core FC.  Often considered the best defender in American soccer history, the former UNC Tar Heel will oversee all soccer operations for the new club, including technical staff management, player personnel, transactions and scouting. 

"I could not be more excited for the arrival of an MLS NEXT Pro club here in the Carolina Core,” said Pope. “Our vision is to provide the pro player pathway for the area’s best young talent, build a lifelong connection between the club and our fans by uniting the community, and to embrace Diversity, Equity and Inclusion both on and off the field.”

Carolina Core FC’s ownership group is led by Principal Investors Megan Oglesby, Matt Penley and Mark Penley and also includes local entrepreneurs Mike Kren, David Bennett, Leah and Chase Hazelwood, Melissa and Pablo Webster, Alex Moore and Ryan Burkett.

“By bringing the world’s game to the Carolina Core, we will create countless opportunities for those who want to access the sport and lift up the community both on and off the field,” said Oglesby. “This is far more than a financial investment for our group, this will be a long-term investment into individuals and communities with untapped potential, and it will be a major driver of economic development in the region.”

The club’s name celebrates the area’s 12 diverse interlocking cities while showcasing the soccer community’s deep local influence. The goal of Carolina Core FC’s name is to unite the entire region through the global game of soccer. 

Carolina Core FC will play its home matches at Truist Point, located in High Point. Following planned renovations, Truist Point will be able to accommodate up to 5,000 fans in the soccer layout of the multi-purpose stadium, providing both players and spectators with an authentic soccer gameday experience.