As a vastly experienced sports professional with a career that began over 20 years ago, it’d be fair to assume that Zoran Krneta had all the experience he needed to continue his fast rise through the industry.

But as testament to his desire to continue learning and developing, Zoran joined VSI’s leading CEO of a Sports Organisation programme to further his understanding of sports leadership… at the same time as helping to launch a brand new MLS franchise.

Not one to sit still, Zoran has been jetting between Europe and North Carolina in his position as Sporting Director at the recently named Charlotte FC, who’ll kick off their debut MLS season in 2022. Despite all this, the timing of both the programme and his role at Charlotte couldn’t have been better.

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Speaking to GIS from his home in Charlotte, Zoran said: “The programme has given me personal and man management skills, and insight into modern day leadership that’s been very beneficial for me from the very beginning. From hiring the first staff and looking at the various avenues of where we’re going as a club, running the club and being a general manager or sporting director in the US is a little bit different from in Europe.”

He explained: “In America you are involved in running all aspects of the club – organisational, stadium and training camp development aspects – which I think gave me huge experience, but the programme itself helped with that. What I learnt and what I’m still learning has really helped me handle the situation and issues here in America.”

It’s often said that networking is one of the key components of a successful career in the sports industry, and nowhere is that more prevalent than the VSI CEO programme. Bringing together sports professionals and professional athletes from across the sporting spectrum to gain a better knowledge and understanding of the industry allows for conversations on how different sports have various approaches to dealing situations.

Commenting on sharing ideas, Zoran said: What I really liked was having a variety of sports on the course and a variety of people; I was very impressed with the level of people and the different places they came from.”

He added: “I think listening to someone who has won medals at Olympics, or listening to rugby professionals and executives, gives you a different dimension. It also gives you a different experience where you can use these ideas and suggestions to implement in your own organisation and your own sport.”