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Zoran Krneta brings MLS insights to the Association of Sporting Directors

Zoran Krneta is the Sporting Director of Charlotte FC, a new club starting their first MLS campaign in March 2022. Appointed in December 2019, Zoran is directing all the club’s soccer operations including recruitment of a head coach as well as identifying and signing players. His conversation with the members of the Association of Sporting Directors covered four key areas:

Zoran started by explaining why it was decided to delay the team’s debut in MLS by a year to 2022, and how this change affects him as the Sporting Director.

A key aspect right now is to find players who share the club’s philosophy, mission, and vision. “Charlotte FC will not become another club for European stars to retire. We aim to develop talents,” Zoran explains. Besides, it is not enough just to acquire players. Since the club is expected to begin competing in 2022, Zoran has to loan footballers immediately after signing them. “Right after joining us, Riley McGree moved to Birmingham City for 18 months to further develop and gain experience in the Championship, one of the toughest and most competitive leagues in the world,” Zoran says.

The head coach of Charlotte has not been appointed yet. The ideal candidate was described by Zoran as a progressive manager. The approach to hiring is very similar to the corporate world with multiple levels of assessment. For example, coaches are independently interviewed and assessed by key people from the club. Candidates are also asked to present on how their football philosophy will translate on the pitch for the club.

Throughout the conversation, Zoran shared his opinions on sporting directorship in MLS highlighting the open and cooperative environment there. “In February, all sporting directors had an opportunity to get together for three days for a conference in Kansas City. We shared ideas and experiences trying to help each other. This is something we can learn from MLS, and the Association of Sporting Directors is the first step to unity,” he says.

The ASD aims to support sporting directors in professional football by organising sessions and seminars. These conversations allow members to connect, share practices, develop ideas, and innovate. The full video-conversation with Zoran Krneta is available to ASD members.

Author: Elena Okaemova

Images: Charlotte FC


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