Adilson Malanda: the discreet leader who guides the Charlotte FC locker room

When Adilson Malanda first arrived in the Queen City in August 2022, he was 20 years old, had less than two full years as a professional and had a basic understanding of English. Fast forward to now, and that same young Frenchman has become an established starter and leader for Charlotte FC.

“When I arrived, it was only my second year as a professional footballer,” Malanda recalled on a sunny day at the Atrium Health Performance Park. “You have to adapt first just to see how to manage everything here. Then give your best to try to get the team on your side.

Despite her youth, Malanda has always shown maturity beyond her years. Early in his career at Charlotte FC, he not only had to navigate the challenges of football, but also adapt for the first time to a new way of life outside of his native France.

Upon his arrival, he sought advice from veteran figures like former CLTFC player Guzmán Corujo, current assistant coach Christian Fuchs and the late Anton Walkes, attributing his quick adaptation to the league and the country to their mentorship.

“You learn from everyone who is already here,” Malanda said. “You listen to all kinds of advice and that’s how you learn.”