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To say there is excitement about the Dean Smith hire for Charlotte FC might be a bit of understatement. Of course there is the obvious connections to the state with him sharing the same name as one of the greatest college basketball coaches and cultural leaders the state has ever seen along with his son being a college and, currently, a professional soccer player in the area. However, there is a lot to be hopeful about with what he brings to the pitch from a coaching perspective after what he has done across the pond.

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

Smith took the Villa job midway through the 2017-18 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.

On Thursday morning, Charlotte FC radio analyst Jessica Charman joined the Mac & Bone Show to discuss the hire. “I’m really excited because of his pedigree. I know there’s a red flag that he doesn’t have MLS experience, but he’s been around the US with his son, who plays in USL. Listen, I was a ECL fan before my team got relegated because of the Mac Curse and it has its parallels with MLS so I think he’ll slide in just fine and the players will have a lot of respect for a guy that isn’t afraid to throw punches in terms of making big decisions.”

Listen to Jess’s full thought here and be sure to go check out Willie P’s comments as well wherever you listen to your podcast, just search the ‘Mac & Bone Podcast’.