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Charlotte's MLS Franchise Hires Sporting Director

Charlotte MLS

Charlotte's MLS team is officially only a couple weeks old and doesn't have a name or a headquarters -- but the franchise announced Tuesday that it has hired a sporting director.

Zoran Krneta will be responsible for on-field operations, recruiting coaches and professional support staff, identifying and signing players for the MLS roster and creating a youth development and related youth player initiatives.

Charlotte's MLS team plans to begin play in 2021.

"I don't see myself getting much sleep over the next 12 months," Krneta said in a release. "That being said, I relish the challenge that lies ahead and welcome you all to join the fantastic ride that awaits us."

Krneta has placed players who were on rosters of clubs in MLS, England's Premier League and Championship League, Spain's La Liga and Italy's Serie A.

Among those he is credited with "discovering" as teenagers are Real Madrid's Luka Jovic and Andriy Lunin and Lazio's Sergej Milinkovic-Savic.

Tom Glick, president of Tepper Sports and Entertainment, said the hire came so quickly because "we have been preparing for several months in anticipation of being awarded an MLS expansion franchise."

Jodie Valade has been a Digital News and Engagement Editor for WFAE since 2019. Since moving to Charlotte in 2015, she has worked as a digital content producer for NASCAR.com and a freelance writer for publications ranging from Charlotte magazine to The Athletic to The Washington Post and New York Times. Before that, Jodie was an award-winning sports features and enterprise reporter at The Plain Dealer in Cleveland, Ohio. She also worked at The Dallas Morning News covering the Dallas Mavericks — where she became Mark Cuban's lifelong email pen pal — and at The Kansas City Star. She has a Bachelor of Science in Journalism from Northwestern University and a Master of Education from John Carroll University. She is originally from Rochester Hills, Michigan.