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Charlotte FC’s Dean Smith praises MLS atmospheres, says Premier League ‘think they can put a show on but no’

Charlotte FC’s Dean Smith praises MLS atmospheres, says Premier League ‘think they can put a show on but no’

Major League Soccer is back and with it returning, the Dean Smith era has begun in Charlotte with a 1-0 victory over New York City FC. Behind a goal from defender Adilson Malanda, Charlotte were able to start their season off on the right foot but also, Smith was able to coach his first competitive match at Bank of America Stadium in front of more than 62,000 cheering fans. That attendance mark is more than double the second-highest attendance of week one which was Nashville SC hosting the New York Red Bulls at Geodis Park and it left quite an impression on Smith.

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Smith joined CBS Sports Golazo Network’s Morning Footy to talk about being in charge of Charlotte and the transition from England where he managed Walsall, Brentford, Aston Villa, Norwich City, and Leicester City before making the switch across the pond. He seems to prefer MLS’ atmospheres over the Premier League. 

“To be honest, we really put on a show on Saturday evening. There was a flyover, the fans, the national anthem, the positivity. It was really exciting and really enjoyable as well. You know, in the Premier League, they think they can put a show on but no, wait until you come here. I was really impressed with it. You know, I think that set the standard for the game because certainly my players flew out of the blocks and I think the show that was put on before that certainly helped them,” he said. 

“I was head coach of Norwich at the time in the Premier League and, you know, since then things have changed and I’ve had some opportunities to coach in the Championship but it didn’t quite pique my fancy.”

“I’ve never coached outside the UK before so for me it was a challenge and opportunity to go and pit my wits in a different culture in a different league and it really enticed me.”

For a manager who has been all over England to specifically call out Charlotte’s supporters is saying something when the club has only existed since 2022. Bank of America Stadium also utilizes artificial turf for their soccer matches, something else that isn’t found in England. It shows the organic growth that is happening in Major League Soccer as only five Premier League stadiums have a larger standard capacity than Bank of America Stadium. It’s about more than how many bodies can fit into seats for creating an organic supporters culture but Charlotte is on the right path.

The Portland TImbers where Timber Joey cuts a log for each goal scored to present to scorers following the match have been one of the hallmarks of supporter’s culture in America and with teams becoming more established in their communities this is only continuing. It isn’t limited to MLS either as some of the best matchday experiences can be found in the United Soccer League in places such as Phoenix and Detroit. Slowly soccer is taking more of a hold in America and ahead of the Copa America this summer and the World Cup in 2026, that will only continue. 

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