It is an end of an era for the Charlotte Independence. Alex Martinez has played his last match for the club. While he might have been a polarizing player, he was truly one of our own and a player I greatly enjoyed cheering on.
The dynamic midfielder was born in Montevideo, Uruguay but has deep roots in North Carolina. He played collegiality for High Point University and North Carolina State. He also spent time with the Carolina Dynamo of Greensboro, NC. They are now referred to as North Carolina Fusion U-23s. In 2014, he was drafted in the 3rd round of the MLS SuperDraft by Sporting Kansas City. Later that year, he would make his MLS debut on March 15th against FC Dallas. As fate would have it, the next year, a club not too far from where he grew up would begin play.
Say what you want about his fiery persona on the pitch, he was a fan favorite for a reason. During his time with the club, he was one of the most approachable players. He always had time to talk with fans and truly took pride in playing for Charlotte. The reason being was because him playing for the club meant more. It meant that he was down the road from where he grew up in Rock Hill, SC. In 2015, it meant that Alex would be able to play with his brother Enzo for the first time as a professional.
He was a player that wore his heart on his sleeve. After matches you could senses his emotions radiating from his body. That meant after wins, you could tell he was joyous like no one else. It also, unfortunately, meant that after losses you would see him hanging his head in despair.
Not having Alex Martinez playing for Charlotte in 2020 will be weird. I have no doubt in my mind whatever Alex does next in life will be done to his utmost. I’ll leave you with a quote from Mark Nicholls (then Carolina Dynamo Coach) talking about a performance Alex had after a USASA match. “Martinez changed the game when he came on at halftime,” Nicholls said. “ … He has a little bit of fire, a bit of thunder. He’s very passionate and you could see it when he scored.” That quote perfectly sums up Alex’s career with the Independence and why he will be missed. You knew the dude loved the sport, you know he loved the Charlotte Independence. Thank you, Alex, for five passionate and truly memorable years in Charlotte.