By Sam Vanolinda
According to sources, Charlotte FC are close to finalizing their next head coach. The team has interviewed two former Premier League coaches: Chelsea legend Frank Lampard and former Aston Villa manager Dean Smith. Both are on Charlotte FC's shortlist.
Lampard, the three-time premier league-winning midfielder, was recently in Charlotte for an interview- as well as Smith, two big-name managers who have shown interest in the club.
Lampard last coached as Chelsea’s caretaker manager at the end of the 2022/23 season. Before that he had a year at Everton, predated by another year at Chelsea in 2021. He started his career as a youth coach at Chelsea before his first manager job at Derby County.
As a player, Lampard was Chelsea’s all-time top premier league goal scorer with 211 goals in all competitions in his 13 years with the club. He joined a star-studded midfield of Steven Gerrard and Paul Scholes in his 106 caps for England.
Lampard did not have incredible success as a coach in the Premier League but does have substantial experience both playing and coaching in one of the top leagues in the world, so he may be able to have success at the MLS level.
His final playing year was spent with NYCFC, so Lampard is familiar with the MLS culture and style of play.
Dean Smith has more experience as a manager. After 566 appearances as a center-back in England for Walsall, Hereford United, Leyton Orient, Sheffield Wednesday, and Port Vale. He spent 12 years as a manager, with Walsall, Brentford, Aston Villa, Norwich City and most recently Leicester City at the end of the 2022/23 season after Brenden Rodgers was sacked.
Smith was Aston Villa’s manager from 2018-2021, in which he led the Villains to Premier League promotion. He went on to buy a lot of the mainstays within Villa’s team today within his premier league years– Leon Bailey, Ollie Watkins, and world cup winner Emiliano Martinez, to name a few.
Per sources, Charlotte FC will make their decision on who their next coach will be in the next two weeks.