Charlotte FC's interim head coach, Christian Lattanzio, has a resume that rivals most – he’s worked in youth development at Manchester City with some of the top young talents in world soccer, worked alongside legendary French player turned coach, Patrick Vieira, at New York City FC following him to OGC Nice in France, and also with well-respected former-Italian players turned coaches Gianfranco Zola, Fabio Capello, and Euro 2020 winner Roberto Mancini.
Roberto Mancini, who most recently coached Italy to Euro 2020 success, had nothing but praise for Lattanzio, “Christian is, first of all, a very good person. He is very competent about football. He has very good tactical knowledge, really understands sports psychology and knows how to talk to football players. Christian was a very important member of my staff during my time as Manchester City manager.”
Mancini was the one who brought Lattanzio to Manchester City as his assistant. While Lattanzio predominately worked with the first team, Lattanzio did also oversee Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad, a program designed to produce elite, youth talent.
Players such as Jadon Sancho, Phil Foden, Kieran Trippier, Denis Suarez, and Angeliño. Angeliño would later go on to play at Lattanzio’s next stop in his career, New York City FC.
At NYCFC, Lattanzio worked alongside Vieira in NYCFC’s second-ever year in the MLS. NYCFC is owned by the Manchester City group and has a very similar youth system that mirrors Manchester City.
One of Lattanzio’s responsibilities at NYCFC was to instill Vieira’s playing philosophy and tactics into the youth players to prepare them for the first team. Some notable NYCFC academy products that he worked with were Jack Harrison now at Leeds United, Gio Reyna now at Borussia Dortmund, and Joe Scally now at Borussia Mönchengladbach.
Lattanzio shared about his time at Manchester City and NYCFC academies, “The lesson I learned is how you can help them make that transition from the second team to the first team… The most important thing is the mentality of the professional player. They need to start getting into that frame of mind, to be really humble, learn on a daily basis; don’t think that because you are a good player in the youth system you are done.”
In addition, Lattanzio is well acquainted with working with organizations and coaches that value an attractive style of play. Both Mancini at Manchester City and Vieira at NYCFC had modern, attacking playing philosophies like that of the one Charlotte FC wants to play.
The Italian is well-versed in modern tactics, understands the game at a deep level, and has a good sense of how the different MLS teams like to play. Combined with his experience and knowledge in not just youth development but also overall player development will all serve as the foundation for his new chapter as Charlotte's interim head coach.
"The challenge ahead is a challenge that we embrace because this group of players, in my opinion, is a group of players talented and with a lot of qualities... I feel the responsibility to try and get everyone together. My mission is to make sure everyone at this club will feel valued and ready to make Charlotte FC the club that it deserves."