Riley McGree returns to Charlotte FC after loan from Birmingham City expires

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Midfielder Riley McGree has left Birmingham City and returned to Charlotte FC after his loan expired.

The seven-time Australian national team player was picked up by Charlotte in October 2020 after a successful period with Adelaide United in the A-League and was immediately loaned out to Birmingham.

McGree has remained at St Andrew’s ever since, scoring three goals and two assists in 30 games in all competitions and proved to be a hit among Birmingham’s supporters.

There had been hope that McGree’s loan period could be extended for a while, or that Charlotte could be tempted to sell the 23-year-old.

“All I can tell you is what I’ve said before, Craig [Gardner] has hit that drum and tried to make it happen – that Riley stays “, said Birmingham boss Lee Bowyer earlier in December (via Birmingham Live).

“I know Riley loves this, he loves to train, you see him every day with a smile on his face, he learns every day and improves as a player.”

But McGree is clearly high on CLTFC’s head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez’s plans and will now head to North Carolina in preparation for the club’s first MLS campaign.

“It has unfortunately ended, but it has been a bit of a whirlwind and a good adventure and one that I have fond memories of,” McGree said of his time with Birmingham (via the club’s official website).

“England is where you want to come and play. To have the opportunity in the Championship and to come to Birmingham, I took it and wanted to come here.”

While McGree was one of only a handful of players under contract with Charlotte when he first signed, the Australian will arrive at the Bank of America Stadium for a much fuller playlist. CLTFC has been busy in recent weeks, adding a variety of players through substitutions while also gaining valuable MLS experience in Expansion Draft, recruiting Anton Walkes from Atlanta United and Joseph Mora from DC United.

Charlotte launches her first ever MLS campaign at DC United on Saturday, February 26, before hosting the LA Galaxy in early March. There will be much more in the way of player arrivals before that time.

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