CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - Charlotte’s MLS team has made its first official hire as the club announced Zoran Krneta as the sporting director Tuesday.
Krneta will direct the club’s soccer operations. He is the club’s first technical staff appointment.
A press release from Tepper Sports and Entertainment says Krneta is recognized worldwide for his ability to identify talented players and place them in top professional leagues around the world
“We have been preparing for several months in anticipation of being awarded an MLS expansion franchise,” said Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment. “Zoran is the executive we sought to lead us in our pursuit of building a consistently high-performing team, including winning in our first season. We are delighted to confirm his appointment and also to have him on the case immediately as we begin our journey. Zoran is a highly talented soccer professional and leader who will help us build a club that identifies and attracts talent from around the world to join us in Charlotte while also investing in the development of young players in our home here in the Carolinas.”
The press release goes on to state that Krneta has placed players who were on rosters of clubs in Major League Soccer, England’s Premier League and Championship, Spain’s La Liga and Italy’s Serie A. Players discovered by Krneta’s global scouting network include Luka Jovic and Andriy Lunin, Lazio’s Sergej Milinković-Savić (who was recently the subject of a $100m bid from Manchester United).
“This is a hugely exciting time for Charlotte and I am thrilled to be part of this new MLS club,” Krneta said. “David Tepper’s vision, together with the knowledge and expertise of the technical and executive team we are assembling, demonstrate that our goal will be to compete for the MLS Cup title starting from year one.”
Krneta will be responsible for all on-field operations, recruiting coaches and professional support staff, identifying and signing players for the MLS roster and creating a youth development academy and related youth player initiatives.
“Tom Glick identified Zoran as an ideal fit early on,” Charlotte MLS owner David Tepper said. “He is innovative, understands and believes in our vision and is well-connected globally. We are looking forward to building a first-class, competitive club our fans can be proud of.”
Via the global sports agency Krneta co-founded in 2005, Star Sports & Entertainment, he brokered and negotiated contracts for more than 150 soccer players across the globe. With only one year to prepare before Charlotte MLS officially opens preseason camp for the 2021 season, Krneta seemingly embraces the amount of work ahead of him and his colleagues.
“I don’t see myself getting much sleep over the next 12 months,” Krneta added. “That being said, I relish the challenge that lies ahead and welcome you all to join the fantastic ride that awaits us.”
Krneta will officially begin his duties once the United States government approves his work permit.
The Charlotte MLS team plans to announce additional members of the soccer operations team in the coming weeks. An official name for the team has not yet been announced.