Charlotte Independence vs Swansea City Preview: Swans kick-off their pre-season tour of the States

The Welsh outfit will be hoping to start pre-season with a win on Wednesday night.

Charlotte Independence vs Swansea City Preview: Swans kick-off their pre-season tour of the States
Swansea's pre-season opener will take place at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex. (Photo: stadesandco.wix.com)

Swansea City begin their pre-season schedule in North Carolina on Wednesday evening, taking on Charlotte Independence in the first of a Stateside double-header this week.

The two teams, who share their nickname of the Jacks, face off at the Ramblewood Soccer Complex with kick-off at 19:30 local time - 12:30am back in Swansea.

Who are the opposition?

The big question though is just who are Charlotte Independence?

The American Jacks play their football in the United Soccer League, the third division of an American football pyramid that does not consist of promotion nor relegation.

A good relationship with MLS outfit Colorado Rapids means that the Independence have three of the club's promising youngsters on their books, including USA under-23 international midfielder Zach Pfeffer.

As for Premier League links, midfielder Jack Metcalf was born in Liverpool and came through their youth system before being released at the age of 17. French attacker Yann Ekra, meanwhile, spent two years on the books at Hull City, failing to make an appearance.

Joel Johnson's track record is the most impressive, following time with Valencia and Real Madrid, while both Brian Brown and Henry Kalungi can boast senior caps for their countries - Jamaica and Uganda respectively.

The Independence sit sixth in the Eastern Conference as things stand - one place and two points above Richmond Kickers, who Swansea will face in another pre-season friendly this weekend.

Henry Kalungi has 15 caps for Uganda. (Photo: redpepper.co.ug)
Henry Kalungi has 15 caps for Uganda. (Photo: redpepper.co.ug)

Places up for grabs

With a whole host of key players missing out on the trip to America due to international duties, there is a great chance this week for Swansea's young players to stake a claim for a place in the first team this season.

Bafetimbi Gomis' omission and anticipated return to France means there is no recognised striker in the 23-man squad named by Francesco Guidolin, meaning there could be a chance for former-Bradford City forward Oliver McBurnie.

André Ayew will be expected to feature more prominently through the middle, but McBurnie could certainly be given a good chance this week to show what he can do.

The wide players will also have the opportunity to play more of a role as a result of the lack of options in the number nine position, with young Kenji Gorre in particular hoping to make an impression.

The Stateside fans, meanwhile, will be the first to see Mike van der Hoorn in a Swansea shirt, after he signed from Ajax this summer.

Leroy Fer will also be ready to make his first appearance as an official Swan, having spent the second half of last season on loan from Queens Park Rangers before signing for the club permanently last week.