Charlotte FC and Crown Legacy FC leaders open up on why the Club went with a unique brand in MLS NEXT Pro and how the side is pivotal to player development.
Surprising. Rooted. Unwavering.
These are the pillars on which the Charlotte FC second team, Crown Legacy FC, was built on. They differ from those of Charlotte FC’s and for good reason. While Crown Legacy is under the Charlotte FC umbrella, it is important for the Club to hold its own and have a unique identity.
“We wanted to make sure we were closely linked to the Charlotte FC brand but also for Crown Legacy to have its own identity,” said CLFC President Darrius Barnes, “That’s why we went with a separate brand. A separate name and slightly different crest, to give this team its own identity. We are a professional club, so we want to operate like one.”
Building this identity starts with the name – Crown Legacy FC. There is a familiarity with the word “Crown” because of its ties to the Queen City and Charlotte FC. However, it’s the second word “Legacy” where the Club’s identity truly lies.
Crown Legacy FC isn’t an extension of Charlotte FC but rather an essential building block that will shape and influence the future of soccer in the Carolinas.
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“We aren’t just throwing out a reserve side,” continued Barnes. “This is a huge component of what we are trying to build here as a collective club. This isn't a random second or reserve team, this is truly a professional side that is a pivotal step in our pro player pathway.”
Sporting Director Zoran Krneta has reiterated that the Club wants to create its own stars. The development of both domestic and international young players plays a crucial role in that. The consistent output of good young players is driven by a clear process and a path that players can progress through to continue to be challenged until they reach first team standards.
"When you look at the top clubs around the world, they have a development pathway and step-by-step process that clearly shows young players how they can achieve their dreams and become first-team players,” said Charlotte FC Technical Director Bobby Belair.
Crown Legacy FC is that last step before the first team. It will be responsible for molding youth players into professionals. The standards and demands will be high. The players will also have to adapt to the pressure of playing in front of a crowd at the 5,000 seat Mecklenburg County Sportsplex Stadium.
“I think all of us in the Academy look at Crown Legacy FC as the next step of a player's development after their time in the Academy,” said Executive Academy Director Bryan Scales. “It’s that final transition to get to the first team. It should be as close to a first-team environment as our guys will see as they get to that final step in the Academy.” Crown Legacy FC will reinforce the values that are taught throughout the entire Academy journey while introducing the young players to a professional sporting environment. The stakes will be higher, the demands will be greater, and the competition will be ferocious.
The man in charge of setting the standard and culture within CLFC is head coach, Jose Tavares, who Barnes boasts as the “differentiator” for the team. Tavares comes from the prestigious Portuguese club, FC Porto, where he spent 14 years in a similar youth development centric role, including overlooking the Porto B side.
“We want to create something special here for the Carolinas, for the Club, and for our fans,” said Tavares. “To do that, we need to develop our players with an identity. We are working together as a Club to create this type of culture and identity that we can be proud of.
"When the world thinks about Charlotte FC, they should think that these guys are doing something differently. They have their own way of doing things.”
This is a process that has been ongoing for over eight months now as Crown Legacy FC’s staff continue to build the foundation for players heading into the team’s first official preseason. CLFC will provide consistent playing opportunities for Homegrowns such as Brian Romero and Nimfasha Berchimas, collegiate draftees, and foreign prospects.
Some of the names are recognizable, but many won’t be – that’s the point. Crown Legacy FC will house the stars of tomorrow and fans have front row seats to witness their journey.
“Said simply, it’s a chance to see the next generation of stars in the Carolinas,” said Barnes. “Next Pro will play a pivotal part in the development of Homegrowns like Brian Romero and Nimfasha Berchimas. Being able to watch these young talents week in and week out – not just local kids but international signings too – and witness their development up close and personal is a rare opportunity.”
Surprising young talents rooted within the community unwavering in their pursuit of greatness.
The start of legacies.
That is Crown Legacy FC’s defining identity.
Welcome to Crown Legacy FC | MLS NEXT Pro