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Charlotte FC names Smith as its new head coach

Dean Smith Aston Villa Dean Smith - The Canadian Press

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) — Charlotte FC owner David Tepper has hired a new coach with a very familiar name as his Major League Soccer team's coach in Dean Smith.

This Smith is an Englishman who brings more than a decade of managerial experience in the English soccer system. He is no relation to the late, national championship winning men's basketball coach at North Carolina, according the team.

Smith may be best known for leading Aston Villa back to the Premier League in 2019. Smith takes over for Christian Lattanzio who was let go on Nov. 8 after one season and the team’s first MLS playoff appearance.

Smith said he was honored to take the job and is planning for the 2024 season.

“Throughout the interview process, it was clear that this is an ambitious club with the right ingredients for success,” Smith said in a statement.

Tepper said he was confident that Smith's “leadership and experience will help elevate our club beyond its first playoff appearance into a championship team.”