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FLORIDA – Charlotte FC went south to sunnier Florida to begin preparations for the 2023 MLS season. Head coach, Christian Lattanzio and his coaching staff had a full week of preseason under their belts and it couldn’t have started better.

“The atmosphere within the camp is great, I couldn’t ask for more, honestly,” said Lattanzio. “I’ve been in quite a few preseason camps, and his one rates as one of the best because of many things.

“The way the group is coming together, the work ethic and energy the boys are bringing, and how the coaching staff has already settled in and blended together. Now our challenge is to make sure we keep the energy and intensity and keep building on what we have.

“However, with how the first week has gone, I am very, very happy.”

There are quite a few new faces in preseason, but not all of them are players. The Club and Lattanzio have built almost a brand new coaching staff. Aside from a few familiar faces like now Assistant Coach Andy Quy and previous CLTFC player Christian Fuchs, the coaching staff looks completely different.

“I have to say that we were lucky enough to assemble a fantastic coaching staff here. I couldn’t be happier or more proud of how the guys are working. They bring energy, knowledge, and experience.

“I am so happy... Charlotte FC, in my humble opinion, is very lucky to have this great group of people together.”

Along with the revamped coaching staff, the roster was also bolstered. A lot of Lattanzio’s offseason was spent aiding the scouting department in finding players who could potentially elevate the team.

Lattanzio looks for two things in players that are simple but rare – quality and intensity. Having players who are fully committed on and off the ball and that can work for 90 minutes while maintaining quality.

That’s what Lattanzio feels his side is getting in their two newest additions, Premier League veteran midfielder Ashley Westwood and DP striker Enzo Copetti.

“We are very focused on ourselves. We have a really good group of players that we like... We didn’t want to disrupt the group too much. But we knew that we needed to add some quality. Intense, and experienced players in different positions.

“I’ve been a long-time admirer of Ashley Westwood since I was in the Premier League. Copetti the same. He’s a player I have followed for a while. We are pinpointing players and not making changes for just the sake of it because we believe very much in the group of players we have.”

Ashley Westwood has participated in the team’s preseason and has fit in seamlessly. In Lattanzio’s words, “you would think he has been here 5 years.” As for Copetti, he has yet to join his teammates in Florida due to a pending VISA. However, Copetti already met his new coach when Lattanzio traveled down to Argentina to personally meet him.

“What I like about him [Copetti] is that he is a guy who is really determined to score goals. He likes to attack the space, he likes to be intense in his play, brings personality, speed, and power. His ability to score goals, to be brave, attacking defenders and the goal at all times. I think we needed those kinds of qualities in the team.”

With or without the new additions, Lattanzio made it clear what the objective always was for Charlotte, and it remains heading into the Club’s second season.

"Our objective is to make the playoffs; we aren't going to hide away from it.”

Charlotte just missed out on the playoffs in their first season as they were in contention all the way up until the second to last game. Lattanzio’s strategy for achieving that goal this year is to continue to build on the game model combined with a continued focus on strengthening the mentality of the group.

“We want to create a team that is dynamic and aggressive in its play. That wants to make the Club and the Carolinas proud. So, when we go on the pitch, we carry a certain responsibility. We want to mirror that with the way we play by matching the energy we feel in the Carolinas.

“We need to have a mentality that goes with that. On a few occasions, we left points on the road even when we deserved more, but if we didn’t get them, it’s our fault. Alongside the football, we are trying to build a resilience and togetherness that we want to carry throughout the season, starting in preseason.

“We hope it is going to be seen in the team with the way we play this season. We want to be humble but also ambitious.”

PHOTOS: Back to Work | CLTFC Preseason
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