Dean Smith reveals why he chose to take over as head coach of Charlotte FC

  • Smith last coached at Leicester City in the Premier League
  • 52-year-old revealed he had several options to choose from
  • He notably guided Aston Villa back to the Premier League in 2018/19
Dean Smith is the new boss at Charlotte FC
Dean Smith is the new boss at Charlotte FC / James Williamson - AMA/GettyImages

Charlotte FC head coach Dean Smith has revealed why he chose to cross the Atlantic and take the touchline for one of Major League Soccer's newest clubs.

The Crown, fresh off a first-ever postseason appearance last term, decided to part ways with former head coach Christian Lattanzio to bring Smith in as the Eastern Conference side's third head coach in as many seasons.

Charlotte hope to build upon their most successful season to date, which was bowing out of 2023 MLS Cup playoffs in the Wild Card round to New York Red Bulls, by bringing not only a coach with plenty of European experience but someone who is very familiar with the Carolinas.

"So yes, there were teams knocking on the door and looking to secure my services, but I thought this was going to be the great challenge for myself and one that really excited me and my family," Smith said in his first sit-down interview with the club.

"We've been coming to the Carolinas over the last six years. My son moved over here to study six years ago...during the summers he was playing for Asheville City as well...we bought a vacation home in Myrtle Beach a couple of years ago now.

"So we're well-versed to the Carolinas and really looking forward to being here."

Along with the fact that he already established a connection to the area, another reason Smith chose the Crown was due to the club being just two seasons old -- as he envisions creating a meaningful legacy at Bank of America Stadium.

"I think you can mold it, but we can go and create our own history and that's something that really takes my fancy," added Smith.

"I like the fact that we can go and mold the club, mold our identity as a team and as a club and move forward with togetherness."

Smith also highlighted how much MLS has grown in recent years, prompting him to call on a previous experience as a fan rather than a coach.

"I've been to a Charlotte FC game before about 18 months ago against New York Red Bulls, a 2-0 win as well," he said.

"I came with my family and we really enjoyed the atmosphere. I actually went to watch [LA] Galaxy play pre-David Beckham as well. We liked the atmosphere there, but I just feel the standard of the league is getting better and better."

Charlotte and Smith will look to go one step further in the 2024 campaign to reach the First Round of the playoffs with the likes of Enzo Copetti and Karol Swiderski leading the charge.