With the arrival of Croatian goalkeeper Kristijan Kahlina, Charlotte FC’s inaugural roster stands at 18 players, from 14 different nations. The latest addition brings with him title-winning experience, reps in the UEFA Champions League, and a skill set that perfectly suits the profile of Miguel Ángel Ramírez’s playing philosophy.
“Goalkeeper is one of the most important positions in any team, and it certainly is in Miguel’s team,” says Charlotte FC Goalkeeper Coach Andy Quy. “We need to be strong in that department.
“Our scouting team has searched domestically and internationally to find goalkeepers with all the right attributes for Miguel’s game model, and who are the right fit for the club. Kahlina fits perfectly, and is an outstanding candidate to complement Pablo Sisniega.”
Kahlina arrives in the Queen City from Ludogorets Razgrad, with whom he won the Bulgarian championship last season. In 2021-22, the 29-year-old featured in eight Champions League Qualifiers and four Europa League Group Stage games.
“I went to see him play in the Europa League and he really impressed me,” says Quy, who has been traveling around the world as part of the club’s global scouting department. “Kristijan’s calmness in possession and his strong leadership qualities are clearly evident.
“He has an excellent temperament, he is very good with the ball at his feet, his distribution is excellent, and he makes good choices. Kristijan is also capable of making big saves, so will hopefully keep us in games, as well as starting off goal-scoring opportunities, as the first point of buildup.
“He already has a really good understanding of the way we want to play and completely fits the bill!”
Kahlina, who represented Croatia at U-19 level, is set to compete for his place in goal with Sisniega, who arrived in Charlotte from LAFC earlier this month.
“The two of them will fight it out for the number-one spot,” says Quy. “Sisniega has experience, he knows the league and also has all the attributes we’re looking for in a ‘keeper.
“It’s great to have two top-quality goalkeepers in the building.”
In addition to a title with Ludogorets and his wealth of continental experience, Kahlina’s resume also boasts a Croatian second division title win with HNK Gorica.
“Kristijan has experience on the biggest stages in Champions League Qualification and the Europa League,” says Quy. “He’s played against big teams in big stadiums, which will stand him in really good stead for MLS.
“He will be a real asset to our club.”