Barnes, an eight-year MLS veteran, joined Charlotte FC in 2021 as the Club’s Director of Business Operations. The Raleigh native begins his new role tomorrow, Friday, April 1.
“It’s a tremendous honor to be named as the first president of Charlotte FC’s MLS Next Pro Team as we set forth to complete the professional pathway for aspiring soccer players throughout the Carolinas,” said Barnes. “The next nine months are vital as we continue to add MLS NEXT Pro specific roles to our organization across sporting and business verticals to ensure we are ready for the 2023 season.”
Barnes played all of his eight seasons for the New England Revolution after a stellar collegiate career at Duke University. His 9th year as a pro came with the New York Cosmos in the NASL.
Following his retirement from professional soccer, Barnes joined the MLS league office in the partnership marketing department where he worked for over three years before joining Charlotte FC.
“There isn’t a better person to lead Charlotte’s MLS NEXT Pro club than Darrius. Not only is he a fantastic ambassador for our sport, especially in his home state of North Carolina, but he is a tremendous human being,” said Charles Altchek, President of MLS NEXT Pro. “I have known Darrius as a competitor on the field and a colleague in the MLS league office, and I am looking forward to working with him in his new role as the President of Charlotte FC’s MLS NEXT Pro Club. I’m not only happy for him and for the Charlotte FC organization, but also for the individuals on and off the field who will benefit from his leadership.”
Established in June 2021 by Major League Soccer, MLS NEXT Pro offers young players and experienced professionals the opportunity to develop and showcase their talents while competing for an MLS NEXT Pro championship.
The league debuted in March 2022 and has 21 clubs competing in its inaugural season, including 20 teams affiliated with MLS clubs and one independent club, Rochester New York FC.
Eight additional MLS-affiliated teams, including Charlotte FC, will join MLS NEXT Pro in 2023. The league is also expected to add additional independent clubs in the years ahead.