Charlotte FC

Dean Smith: "We Just Need to Keep Improving"

March 1, 2024 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Charlotte FC News Release

Charlotte FC Head Coach Dean Smith's first away trip is one that will take to the Western Coast and across international as Charlotte FC face the Vancouver Whitecaps.

The team started their 2024 campaign with a win and a clean sheet but Smith and his players aren't satisfied with just that. Smith has set the standard high for his team and is focused on getting closer to that standard with every match, continuing with the Whitecaps.

"I think we just need to keep improving," said Smith in his press conference leading to the match. "We're far from the finished products, and I think everybody saw that on Saturday. As good as it was to keep a clean sheet and go win our first game, we've got to be better with the ball. There's certainly periods in the game where we've got to be better without the ball as well.

"So, there's many things that we've been working on to improve, but what we want is to continue is the momentum that we've got from getting that first win and the clean sheet."

Newcomer, midfielder Junior Urso, echoed his coach's sentiments about focusing on improvement and not getting complacent because he personally believes the team is capable of achieving big things.

"We have to keep a good mentality," said Urso. "In MLS we have hard games, but we also have to keep our feet on the ground. Sometimes we play well and then think we are good but everything can change fast. So, we have to be humble and take it game by game."

Smith elaborated on the mentality that he believes will be critical to creating a winning culture at the Club. A culture the team can continue to build on with a positive result away from home.

"Every institution I've seen been successful, there has to be a group mentality and teamwork and togetherness, because if you get an institution all moving in the same direction, it's really, really hard to stop," explained Smith. "That's big thing that I think has to be part of our culture."

Vancouver has yet to play a match in the 2024 MLS season, so Charlotte has an opportunity to spoil their season opener. Smith and his staff weren't able to scout any MLS match of theirs so far but were able to get an idea on what to expect from their opponent through their preseason and Champions Cup matches.

"Sometimes you have to be aware of the unknown," said Smith. "They haven't played the game yet, so it'd be interesting to see how they are. They're at home for their first game of the season, so they'll certainly want to put on a show for their home crowd as well. We have to be very respectful of the opposition, but certainly not fear them."

Charlotte are still searching for their first win on Canadian soil but hope to continue to make history at the first stop of their three-match away series.

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