‘We’re so proud’: Charlotte native returning home to play for Charlotte FC
Jonelle Stitt said her son left home as a freshman in high school to attend a Major League Soccer Academy and has been chasing the professional soccer dream ever since.
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - After several years playing for Sporting Kansas City, Charlotte soccer star Jaylin Lindsey will be returning to the Queen City to play for the city’s new MLS team, Charlotte FC.
The club announced Sunday that Lindsey had been acquired from Sporting Kansas City in exchange for General Allocation Money (GAM).
WBTV spoke to Lindsey’s mother, Jonelle Stitt, Wednesday evening. Stitt is a teacher with Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools and still lives in the Charlotte area. She explained that she was thrilled to learn her son would be coming home to play for Charlotte FC.
“I was so excited. It was like a dream come true, something I’ve been hoping for, praying for,” said Stitt.
She said she has followed the developments with the launch of Charlotte’s Major League Soccer team and had thought about the possibility of her son one day playing in the city where he grew up.
“I was at the party when they first launched it. I was so excited. I just thought ‘Oh that’d be so cool one day if he could ever come here,’” said Stitt.
Terrill Stitt, Lindsey’s younger brother, said he too was excited when he found out his brother would be returning to Charlotte.
“I was super excited. He’s been gone since I was little. I was probably 10 or 11 when he moved out so I’m super excited to have him back,” said the proud brother.
Jonelle Stitt said her son left home as a freshman in high school to attend a Major League Soccer Academy and has been chasing the professional soccer dream ever since. The pursuit, however, has not come without sacrifice.
“Him leaving and not being with his mom and having to live with different families. He went to five different high schools. I haven’t seen him right now since April,” said Stitt.
Lindsey briefly spoke to WBTV via FaceTime Wednesday night, explaining that he is excited about the opportunity to play for Charlotte FC.
“I think the most I’m excited about is playing in Bank of America Stadium. Growing up watching the Panthers play in that stadium, and now becoming a reality of being in that stadium, I’m just like so excited to play in that stadium,” said Lindsey.
The 21-year-old professional soccer player explained that he grew up a fan of Cam Newton and the Carolina Panthers. Stitt shared photos of her son wearing Panthers apparel. One old photograph even shows a young Lindsey standing outside of Bank of America Stadium with his brother during a Panthers game.
“We’re so proud. I know it’s cool because I’m a school teacher too and the kids, they look up to him,” said Stitt. ”Him coming to the Panthers games when he was six years old, and now he could be running out on that same field. It’s pretty amazing.”
She said her son will be returning to Charlotte later this week. Charlotte FC’s inaugural season will begin in February.
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