Charlotte FC have completed a deal to add Australian midfielder Riley McGree as the club’s second-ever signing.

The 21-year-old midfielder fired 13 goals across 26 appearances for the club, including a goal against Melbourne City in a 4-0 win in the FFA Cup final.

He will join Championship side Birmingham City on loan this season before joining up with Charlotte FC ahead of the club’s 2022 MLS debut.

McGree originally broke through from the Adelaide academy in March 2016, making his debut for the club before scoring two goals in 22 appearances the next season.

His performances earned him a move to Club Brugge in 2017 before being loaned back to the A-League with Newcastle Jets and Melbourne City.

McGree scored five goals in 12 appearances during his half-season with the former, earning a nomination for the Puskas Award for a scorpion kick goal in the A-League semifinals.

He went on to add eight more finishes in 30 appearances with Melbourne City the year after before returning to Adelaide on a three-year deal.

Internationally, McGree has featured for Australia up to the U-23 level, having previously been called up to the senior team in 2017. McGree had been suspended by the national team program last year for breaking curfew while with the U-23s, with that suspension ending in April.

The midfielderwas singled out by formerManchester United,Aston VillaandChelseagoalkeeperMark Bosnich as one of Australia’s brightest talents in April, with Bosnich adding that McGree may need to head overseas to truly test himself.

He will do so with Charlotte FC, the MLS expansion club that is set to begin play in 2022 after seeing their original start date of 2021 pushed back due to the coronavirus pandemic.

McGree is the club’s second signing following Sergio Ruiz, who is currently on loan with Las Palmas in Spain’s second division.

Charlotte FC was announced as MLS’ 30th expansion franchise in 2019, with Austin FC the next team to join the league after Inter Miami and Nashville SC began play this season.

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