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Charlotte Football Club appointed ex-Premier League manager Dean Smith as its next Head Coach, the team said in a statement Tuesday morning.

Smith replaces Christian Lattanzio, who was not retained after his first full season after a Wild Card Round ouster in the MLS Playoffs last season.

“I’m honored to be appointed as the next head coach of Charlotte FC and cannot wait to start preparations for the 2024 season,” said Smith in a statement provided by the team. “Throughout the interview process, it was clear that this is an ambitious club with the right ingredients for success and I’m delighted to begin a new chapter in Charlotte. This is a unique opportunity to be part of a project with so much potential to take to new heights in Major League Soccer. I’d like to thank Mr. Tepper, Zoran, Joe and the rest of the Charlotte FC leadership for entrusting me to lead this team and I look forward to meeting everyone involved with Charlotte FC.”

The 52-year-old West Bromwich, England native comes to Charlotte having led Premier League sides in his last three jobs, including the much celebrated return of Aston Villa to the top division of English football.

Smith took the Villa job midway through the 17-18 season, taking a team who finished 13th the prior, and 15th during his midseason takeover, finishing in fourth place and losing in the EFL Promotion Play-off Final. His 18-19 Villa team finished fifth in the EFL Championship, also qualifying for the play-offs, and earned promotion to the Premier League defeating Frank Lampard’s Derby County team, 2-1, at Wembley Stadium. Players he developed at Villa include current Manchester City attacking midfielder Jack Grealish, & current Villa and Scottish National Team Captain John McGinn.

Smtih’s other stops include stays at Brentford, along with roles at Norwich City & a caretaker managerial stint at Leicester. His coaching career followed a 16-year career as a centerback in the EFL, with notable stops at Walsall, where he later coached, as well as Leyton Orient & Sheffield Wednesday. Smith scored 54 goals in 566 EFL league appearances.

“We’re excited to welcome Dean and his family to Charlotte to become the next head coach of Charlotte FC,” said Charlotte FC Owner David Tepper in the statement announcing his appointment. “We’re confident his leadership and experience will help elevate our Club beyond its first playoff appearance into a championship team.”

The new Charlotte FC Head Coach is no stranger to the Carolinas, as his son Jamie played as a defender for two seasons at Limestone College in Gaffney, SC, before transferring for his final two collegiate seasons at NC State. The younger Smith just finished his second professional season for the Greenville Triumph of USL League One.

“Dean is a well-respected manager with over a decade of professional coaching, including at the highest level of the game in the Premier League, and we’re delighted to welcome him to Charlotte FC,” said Sporting Director Zoran Krneta. “He has proven track record of sporting success across multiple levels of professional football and his man management style will be welcomed by our locker room. Dean’s excited to hit the ground running in Charlotte and we look forward to welcoming him and his family soon.”

Smith will be introduced to the Charlotte market on Monday, December 18th with a press conference to be carried live on WFNZ.