The backers of High Point’s new Major League Soccer NEXT Pro team – the Carolina Core Football Club – have been putting the pieces of the puzzle together before the start of the team’s 2024 inaugural season.

On Thursday, June 15 at a media event, the team put a huge part of that puzzle in place.

Carolina Core founders announced that North Carolina native Roy Lassiter – a standout former Major League Soccer player – will be the coach of the new team.

A press release from Carolina Core FC stated that Lassiter’s “extensive soccer background” makes him “an exceptional fit for the role.” It added that his highly successful time as player provides him with “a deep understanding of the game.”

Lassiter will take control of the team in the NEXT Pro league that was established in 2022 by Major League Soccer. MLS NEXT Pro is a professional men’s soccer league operating in the United States and Canada where future MLS stars can display their talents and hone their skills while entertaining fans.

Next year, Carolina Core FC will play its games in the new downtown stadium that’s home to the High Point Rockers baseball team.

As a forward, Lassiter played a key role in the early years of Major League Soccer, leaving what team officials call “an indelible mark on the league’s history.”

He held the MLS single season scoring record with 27 goals until it was broken in 2018. Lassiter’s also had a successful stint with the US Men’s National Team – representing the US for eight years.

A press release from the team notes many of his other accomplishments: “Lassiter was selected as a three-time MLS All-Star and won the MLS Cup Championship in 1999 with D.C. United. His achievements also brought him close to representing the United States in the FIFA World Cup as he was selected as an alternate member of the 1998 World Cup team in France. This recognition speaks to his consistent excellence and prominence within Major League Soccer. In recognition of all his significant contributions, Lassiter was inducted into the North Carolina Soccer Hall of Fame in 2011. This honor further solidifies his esteemed reputation within the North Carolina soccer community.”

Needless to say, team officials are thrilled with Lassiter as head coach and many of them used that exact word on Thursday.

Principal Investor of Carolina Core FC Megan Oglesby stated of the choice, “Roy’s appointment is not only a significant milestone for our club as we bring top-tier soccer to the NC Core, but also a milestone for him as a professional. CCFC is dedicated to the development and career advancement of every individual that comes to and through our club, not just our players. Roy has an impressive track record and we are excited to launch our team under his leadership.”