Charlotte’s Major League Soccer expansion side has about one year to build its roster before it takes the pitch in the 2021 season.
The expansion side announced Monday that it has hired Steve Walsh as a special adviser. In a release, the club said that Walsh will “consult on management and recruitment” as an adviser to sporting director Zoran Krneta, club president Tom Glick and owner David Tepper.
“Steve’s depth and breadth of experience, and successful performance at the top level of our sport is widely known,” Glick said in a statement. “Adding his advice, mentorship and wisdom to our operating team will help us build a winner for our fans, city and region.”
Krneta added: “Steve’s experience, knowledge of the game, and his exceptional ability to recognize emerging talent will be a significant advantage for us in helping to build a winning team for 2021.”
Walsh, an Irishman, grew up in northwest England and his brother Mickey played for the Irish national team. Walsh began his coaching career in the 1970s and began scouting for smaller English clubs, such as fourth-tier Bury FC and now-defunct third-tier Chester City FC.
He eventually landed at Chelsea, a giant in the Premier League. Walsh is credited as being part of the team that scouted Didier Drogba, Michael Essien and Gianfranco Zola. Each player had stellar careers at the club, and Drogba led Chelsea to three first-place finishes in the Premier League, four FA Cups and a UEFA Champions League title.
Walsh also worked for Newcastle United and Hull City. His most notable work came with Leicester City, where he was an assistant manager for the first team and helped identify talented players such as Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante. Walsh helped build teams at Leicester that won League One, the Championship and then, finally, the Premier League in 2016. Walsh was awarded the English FA’s Excellence in Talent Identification honor.
After success at Leicester, Walsh was hired as the director of football at Everton, where he worked through May 2018.
“I am very much looking forward to working with a team of like-minded professionals who are driven with the same purpose of making Charlotte MLS successful,” Walsh said. “It gives me the opportunity to be part of something special and I am truly excited for the challenge. Our aim is to give the soccer fans of Charlotte a team of which they can be truly proud.”
At Charlotte, Walsh will help in identifying talent and also serve on the technical board. He will have a hand in making decisions on player transfers and coaching hires.