Charlotte FC has officially named Dean Smith as their new head coach. The Major League Soccer side had been without a coach since firing Christian Lattanzio on Nov. 14. Smith, however, will take over in North Carolina as soon as he receives a working visa. It was previously reported that he was battling out Frank Lampard for the position.

“I’m honored to be appointed as the next head coach of Charlotte FC and cannot wait to start preparations for the 2024 season,” Smith stated in his first interview with the club. “Throughout the interview process, it was clear that this is an ambitious club with the right ingredients for success and I’m delighted to begin a new chapter in Charlotte.”

“This is a unique opportunity to be part of a project with so much potential to take to new heights in Major League Soccer. I’d like to thank Mr. Tepper, Zoran, Joe and the rest of the Charlotte FC leadership for entrusting me to lead this team and I look forward to meeting everyone involved with Charlotte FC.”

Smith brings Premier League experience to new club

Smith is a significant signing for The Crown. After all, the Englishman has plenty of managerial experience at several Premier League teams. This includes previous stays with Aston Villa, Norwich City, and Leicester City. He is most known for his time with Villa from 2018 to 2021. Smith guided the Villans back to the English top flight in 2019 after having dropped down to the Championship.

Villa sat 15th in the second-tiered table when Smith arrived to help save the club. The West Midlands side eventually finished fifth in the Championship after collecting 10 wins in their final 12 league matches. Smith then led Villa through the promotion playoffs by beating Derby County in the final.

After departing the Birmingham-based club, Smith then had less successful spells with Norwich and Leicester. Both clubs suffered relegation with the coach at the helm. Nevertheless, the now-52-year-old coach still has ample fans back in England.

Coach shares name with former North Carolina sports legend

Charlotte has found life in MLS fairly difficult since joining the division in 2022. Although they have played just two seasons in the league, they have now had three different head coaches. However, the club’s owner, David Tepper, has faith that Smith can lead his team to success in the near future.

“We’re excited to welcome Dean and his family to Charlotte to become the next head coach of Charlotte FC,” proclaimed Tepper. “We’re confident his leadership and experience will help elevate our club beyond its first playoff appearance into a championship team.”

The team’s new manager also shares his name with a former North Carolina coaching legend. Dean Smith previously helped make the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill one of the premier college basketball programs in the country. Smith collected two national championships, his first with Michael Jordan, and 17 ACC division titles.

Charlotte FC fans will be hoping that their new head coach can bring similar magic that the former basketball coach had. Smith has plenty of time with his new players. The 2024 season will not begin until February. The Crown will first, however, start preseason training in January.