MLS's next expansion franchise is reserving a roster spot for the winner of a reality TV contest. Seriously.
Charlotte FC, which will join MLS next season, is the focus of a new show whose working title is Welcome to the Team and will center on a very public tryout for a place on the squad. Charlotte currently has seven players signed ahead of its inaugural season, including former Leicester City standout and Premier League champion Christian Fuchs. One of its next ones will be selected through unorthodox means, with club sporting director Zoran Krneta and president Nick Kelly being joined by "a rotating panel of soccer legends and celebrity fans" to eliminate players in each episode before the winner is crowned. The series will "provide 24/7 access as the players live and train together while being put to the test to prove they have what it takes" to make the team, according to a press release. It's unclear when and where it will air, with the project currently in production.
The show is a product of producer Mark Burnett, who created The Apprentice, Shark Tank, The Voice and Survivor, among other reality shows.
"At Charlotte FC, we’re very invested in providing soccer players across the world the opportunity to be part of a great organization where they can grow and develop as professionals,” Charlotte FC owner David Tepper said in a statement. “By working with MGM Television and Major League Soccer to be the first MLS club featured in this new and groundbreaking series, we’re bringing soccer fans in the United States closer to 'the beautiful game' that we’re playing in the Carolinas, with different and exclusive content delivered in a way that has never been done before.”
This isn't MLS's first dip into the reality contest pool. Sueño MLS ran from 2007-2016 as a way to uncover new talent, and U.S. international Jorge Villafaña and Mexico forward Rogelio Funes Mori were success stories from the first two classes. The league also was set to partner with CBS on The Job, a 2013 series in which, for the MLS episode, an associate producer position for the league's website was going to be awarded to the winner. The Job, which was also Burnett's project, got canceled after two episodes.
More Soccer Coverage: