Charlotte: First signing Sergio Ruiz provides leadership and experience

Charlotte, Sergio Ruiz (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images)
Charlotte, Sergio Ruiz (Photo by Juan Manuel Serrano Arce/Getty Images) /

Charlotte have announced their club’s first signing Sergio Ruiz from Racing Santander. The midfielder brings a wealth of experience with him.

In their first move towards building their roster, Charlotte have signed Sergio Ruiz from Racing Santander. The Spanish midfielder is an experienced veteran having made 134 appearances with the team. He is a key piece of their side, with 31 appearances so far in the 2019-20 season.

At 25, Ruiz has plenty of years ahead of him in his career which makes this a good and surprising move from Charlotte. They have signed a player who has been playing first-team football since 2016 and has earned plenty of experience playing in Spain’s second and third divisions. This past season was the first time Ruiz played in La Liga 2 in his career as Racing Santander were promoted from the third division.

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The Charlotte Observer reports that he will spend the rest of the season out on loan until the time comes to join Charlotte ahead their first season in Major League Soccer next year.

Ruiz plays primarily as a central midfielder and has made 112 appearances at this positionHe has scored eight goals and registered eight assists across his 134 appearances in his career. The club’s press release states Ruiz was a captain of Santander, proving his leadership and experience.

This announcement came just days after fellow Expansion Club Austin FC announced their first club signing. Both clubs have gone with players who will occupy international roster spots. Charlotte’s scouting director, Thomas Schaling, was very encouraged by what he has seen from Ruiz:

"“Every team needs mature, dependable players who think about the team first. Sergio is a technical midfielder who reads the game well, both with and without the ball. We are looking forward to seeing him represent us.”"

Ruiz’s signing is a start for Charlotte. He is vastly experienced, is a renowned leader and strong character, and the type of age profile and talent that Charlotte can now craft their midfield around him. Some may be concerned that he has not played in La Liga, but Carles Gil spent a season in the Spanish second division before joining the New England Revolution and has turned out to be one of the most effective attacking midfielders in the league.

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With Austin FC and Charlotte rosters continuing to take shape, how they go about crafting their respective teams from scratch will be fascinating to watch. And Charlotte have started in the midfield and started with experience and leadership. Those qualities are no bad foundation to build on.