Sports stats

 Charlotte Independence

Independence Sign Midfielder Clay Obara to First Professional Contract

May 2, 2024 - United Soccer League One (USL1)
Charlotte Independence News Release

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Charlotte Independence announced today the signing of Clay Obara for the 2024 season. The midfielder joins the Jacks on his first professional contract after five seasons with James Madison University.

"Clay impressed in his trial with us - he is a dynamic, young attacker with good instincts in front of goal," Head Coach Mike Jeffries explained. "He is an energetic player with good 1 v. 1 technical ability and the ability to put himself in good spots for chances. Clay also offers the flexibility of playing multiple spots. I look forward to integrating him further with the group."

In his final season with the Dukes, Obara was named to the All-Southeast Region Second Team and the All-Sun Belt First Team. He tallied six goals and four assists in 20 matches. In September, he was named the United Soccer Coaches National Player of the Week and selected for the TopDrawerSoccer National Team of the Week after recording three goals and one assist in two games.

"I can't wait to play in front of our fans and become part of the culture they bring to American Legion Memorial Stadium," Obara said.

In USL League Two, Obara played for Virginia Beach United from 2019-2021 and Asheville City SC in 2022 and 2023. He played in eight matches in Asheville City's run to the conference semifinals last season.

As a senior, Obara was named to the Sun Belt All-Tournament Team following three goals in two matches as James Madison reached the championship match. Overall, Obara played in 18 matches, starting 13, and logged five goals and two assists in 2022. He received the 2022-23 Sun Belt Conference Commissioner's Award.

During the 2021 season, Obara started all 17 matches for the Dukes. He was third on the team in points with a trio of goals and assists each; all three of his goals were game-winning strikes. In the adjusted COVID-19 season, Obara started all nine of JMU's games and added one goal and one assist.

Obara made an instant impact in 2019, earning spots on the Colonial Athletic Association All-Rookie Team and the All-CAA Second Team. He started 12 of the 20 matches he played and notched one goal and five assists. Obara's first collegiate goal was a game-winner against Hofstra.

A native of Virginia Beach, Virginia, Obara was named the 2019 Gatorade Virginia Boys Soccer Player of the Year and the Class 6 State Player of the Year. He was also a 2019 United Soccer Coaches and Top Drawer Soccer High School All-American. During his senior season, Obara led the region in scoring with 35 goals and 18 assists. In 2018 and 2019, Obara earned Class 6 First Team All State honors. Overall, Obara tallied 86 goals and 41 assists during his high school career and graduated with the career goal-scoring record for Frank W. Cox High School.

NEXT ON THE SCHEDULE: The Charlotte Independence travel to face Central Valley Fuego FC on Friday, May 3 at 10:30 p.m. (ET). The match can be streamed on ESPN+.

• Discuss this story on the United Soccer League One message board...

United Soccer League One Stories from May 2, 2024

The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.

OurSports Central