CHARLOTTE – Zoran Krneta will continue as Charlotte FC’s Sporting Director heading into year two after his extension was made official today. With the help of the scouting department who was also extended, Krneta and his team were able to assemble a competitive inaugural roster for Club. However, Krneta is the first to admit that mistakes were made but stresses it’s how the Club acted quickly to correct and learn from them that is the most important for the success.
“I think the organization faced some tough times. There were some storms going our way. We managed to steady the ship but we also made a lot of mistakes. I mean everybody, including myself, but that's normal. We all make mistakes. The idea is how quickly we learn from those mistakes, how quickly we change those mistakes into something that we can learn from and improve and this is exactly what we're doing.
“We now understand the league better. We know what are the specific challenges of the league, whether at the micro or macro level. I think there is no doubt that we will address all the pitfalls, all the problems, and all the issues that we have. We want to improve everything.”
One of the major steps towards getting back on track was the official appointment of Christian Lattanzio as the head coach.
When asked about expectations, Krneta says the goal remains the same – create a powerful club that is consistently in playoffs. The Club interviewed other candidates but Lattanzio continued to stand out and be the front-runner.
“Chris was always a very strong candidate because simply he impressed us all, myself included. I mean, the way he behaved, developed the club, his methodology, his work in training, the intensity, and the bond between the players and him is incredibly strong. The players like him, the players want to play for him, and the players will give a little bit more for him.
“He has a fantastic relationship with myself and the front office. He has a good relationship with the gentlemen and ladies of the press so I think in all, he's a fantastic package. It’s really the package that in an ideal world we should have had from day one.”
With the head coach situation now settled, the focus shifts to the roster. When asked about whether there were parts of the roster, he wasn’t satisfied with, Krneta’s answer was...
“The simple answer is, yes. The more complicated answer is I'll never be happy and satisfied with the roster. There's always room for improvement... I believe that Christian Lattanzio and I share that belief, that we can always do better, we can always be better.”
One area that the team had resounding success was fan culture. Charlotte has produced one of the most vibrant fanbases in MLS that has gotten recognition not just nationally but internationally as well.
“I'm really proud of how the club built this culture between the fans, community, the city, and the players. If you come for the games and you see what happens after the games, not many clubs in the world have this kind of interaction with love from both sides being openly shared.
“I think we need to continue, I don't think that the 35,000 average should be our aim, I think we should improve on that and bring more interaction with the community. We should reach further and further to South Carolina and North Carolina, and really position ourselves as the pride of the Carolinas.”
Even though CLTFC barely missed out on playoffs this season, the foundation has been set to continue building towards the Club’s goal of becoming a consistent playoff participant.
“We always had a three-year plan from the very beginning. The first year was to build the base, the block that we can continue building and improving the club. Then year two is the second year of building the club into a powerful club. You want to create a club that is not a yo-yo club, that one year is in playoffs, two years is not, and in another year. You want to create a club that is consistent and strong, is always competing, and is always in the playoffs.”