Exclusive – Charlotte FC Nick Kelly has assured fans the club won’t be “wasting a spot” on their roster in light of the recent reality TV show announcement.
Ahead of their inaugural year in MLS in 2022, CFC announced a partnership with MGM Television and Major League Soccer that makes the club the focus of a competition series named “WELCOME TO THE TEAM”.
The show, led by television executives Mark Burnett and Barry Poznick (Survivor, The Voice, Real Housewives of Orange County), will see prospective soccer players from around the globe compete to earn a spot on CFC’s roster next season.
Naturally, there have been some who have accused the move of being a marketing ploy, while some supporters have voiced concerns that CFC are essentially wasting a roster spot on a sub-par player.
Speaking exclusively to 90min at the Leaders Week sport business conference at Twickenham Stadium, London, Kelly insisted this was certainly not the case and that an exhaustive search will take place to ensure Charlotte recruit a worthy talent.
“The reason it will take so long to do is that, if we’re putting a spot on our team between the league and ourselves, I’m not wasting it. They have to be good enough,” Kelly said.
“There’s a lot of effort going to us right now, doing all the pre-production. For us, selfishly, it’s huge for our brand globally, to now have a platform where they can see the work that’s going into the team.
“We’re not just looking around the US or in US academies, either. We’re truly scouting the globe to find the best players to help make us a winning team. It’s a competition to be on the team, so it’s a big risk for us and the league. But we think the reward is there.
“I’ll be involved, Zoran [Krneta] (sporting director), Steve Walsh will be heavily involved in treating this like a normal scouting process.”
Kelly believes Charlotte could even get lucky in finding more than one more player, perhaps finding some young talent that can go into the youth system.
He added: “For us, if we do our job well – take reality series out of it – we may find two or three guys. One guy is good enough to make the first team but two guys who make the reserve team.
“It’s huge, there’s a lot of work going on between us, the league and MGM because the guy producing it is Mark Burnett who did Survivor. He’s going to invest enough to make this big. So we’ve got to make sure that we are putting our best foot forward into something like this.”
Ahead of their inaugural season which kicks off in March, Charlotte already have seven players on their roster, including former Leicester City left-back and Premier League title-winner, Christian Fuchs.