Charlotte MLS plans for summer signings, but will build most of the roster next winter

While the COVID-19 pandemic will prevent most of Charlotte's scouting staff from arriving in the area as soon as they had originally planned, the work of building the 2021 expansion team's roster will still begin with summer signings, club scouting director Thomas Schaling told the Charlotte Observer.

In a story published Friday, Schaling shed some light on the nascent club's roster building plans. That includes beginning to make a few key signings when the MLS Secondary Transfer Window opens in July, but leaving the bulk of the player acquisitions for the following winter.

Schaling also suggested -- at least for now -- the search for players won't be so dependent on style, since the club has yet to hire its first manager and wants whoever that turns out to be to influence how the team plays on the field.

That could soon change if the splashier expansion teams of recent history are any indication. Los Angeles Football Club hired Bob Bradley in the July prior to their first MLS season, and the experienced American coach was very influential in the club's roster build. Atlanta United also built its original roster around the stylings of their Argentine manager Tata Martino, who was brought aboard in the September prior to their MLS debut.

As far as the kinds of players who would be open to an MLS move, Schaling believes that net is wider than ever. It's already well-established that many young Latin American players are viewing the league as a potential stepping stone to Europe's bigger leagues.

But increasingly, he says players in the lower rungs of the European landscape may view MLS the same way. That might include players in Eastern Europe, where Charlotte may have connections through sporting director Zoran Krneta and scout Davor Brasanac, both natives of Serbia. 

Charlotte will be looking for "hungry" players first and foremost, Schaling told The Observer. For more, read the full story here.