UPDATE (Oct. 26, 10:15 am ET) – Charlotte FC have made the news official, announcing Wednesday morning they’ve signed head coach Christian Lattanzio to a contract extension through the 2024 season with an option for 2025.
Lattanzio, who took over midseason for Miguel Angel Ramirez, compiled an 8W-10L-2D record.
“I’ve said many times that Charlotte FC is a special place, not only in Major League Soccer, but around the world of football. I’m excited to sign an extension here in Charlotte as we continue to build our culture and identity,” Lattanzio said in a release.
“I’m honored to be the head coach of Charlotte FC and know everyone at this football club is aligned and prepared to move forward into 2023 as we improve on the foundation we have built together this season.”
Further, sporting director Zoran Krneta, director of scouting Thomas Schaling and head of analytics & technical scouting Lisandro Isei have signed new, multi-year contracts with Charlotte.
“We’re delighted to have Zoran, Thomas and Lisandro re-sign with Charlotte FC as they, along with technical director Bobby Belair, continue to lead our sporting operations and provide the stability that is necessary to build upon the foundation laid in 2022,” club president Joe LaBue said in a release.
“2023 is an important season for our club as we introduce MLS NEXT Pro, continue to grow our academy and strive to make the playoffs after falling just short this season. Everyone at the club is grateful for the leadership shown by Zoran and his team through the ups and downs of our inaugural season, and we’re confident we have the right leaders guiding Charlotte FC for the years ahead.”
ORIGINAL (Oct. 26, 7 am ET) – Charlotte FC have named Christian Lattanzio as their head coach and removed his interim tag, sources tell MLSsoccer.com. The deal, which has been in the works for a bit, has been finalized and signed.
In addition to Lattanzio signing a long-term deal, Charlotte have agreed on new long-term contracts with sporting director Zoran Krneta, director of scouting Thomas Schaling and head of analytics and technical scouting Lisandro Isei as well. Technical director Bobby Belair signed a new deal earlier this year.
The moves tie down club leadership for the foreseeable future as Charlotte head into their second MLS season, building off their expansion year in 2022.
Lattanzio's body of work
Lattanzio took over as interim head coach in late May when the club parted ways with inaugural head coach Miguel Angel Ramirez. Lattanzio was an assistant on that initial staff.
Under Lattanzio’s leadership, Charlotte picked up 26 points in 20 games (1.30 PPG) and went into their penultimate match with an outside chance at qualifying for the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs as a first-year club. CLTFC's underlying expected goals numbers improved dramatically under Lattanzio. The culture within the club immediately turned around, too, as they finished ninth in the Eastern Conference table.
The 51-year-old Italian manager had previous MLS experience alongside Patrick Vieira at New York City FC (as well as at Ligue 1's OGC Nice when Vieira took that job in 2018) and turned down the chance to join Vieira's staff at Premier League side Crystal Palace in favor of accepting a role with Charlotte. Lattanzio also worked in the Manchester City academy and under the likes of Fabio Capello, Gianfranco Zola and Roberto Mancini.
Lattanzio is hailed for his developmental focus, evident during his time as interim manager in Charlotte. Daniel Rios, Derrick Jones and others helped propel the club forward, while Poland international Karol Swiderski was given more creative freedom in attack.
Heading into year two for Charlotte, Lattanzio will have a core of Swiderski, Kamil Jozwiak, Rios, Brandt Bronico, Guzman Corujo, Kristijan Kahlina, Adilson Malanda, Andre Shinyashiki, Nuno Santos and more to build around as the club makes further additions this winter.
Front office background
Krneta was named the club’s inaugural sporting director at the end of 2019.
He was the first member of CLTFC’s technical staff as they built from scratch. The Serbian executive was previously the co-founder of the global scouting network Star Sports & Entertainment, which has placed players on rosters in MLS, the English Premier League, LaLiga and Serie A.
Schaling joined the club a few weeks after Krneta, previously working as an international senior scout with PSV Eindhoven. Isei worked in Belgium, Netherlands and England. Belair joined Charlotte in 2020 as director of player personnel before being promoted to technical director this year. He previously worked for Atlanta United.