Thursday, September 30, 2010

Battery "Very Happy" with USL Restructure

The Charleston Battery ended any speculation about its 2011 season plans with its official announcement to join USL's restructured USL PRO league recently.

No Quarter caught up with Charlestonn Battery President, Andrew Bell to talk about what fans can expect in 2011.

No Quarter:  Was the Battery happy with the USL decision to merge its professional leagues?

Andrew Bell:  " Very Happy.  We've been an advocate of this for awhile; I think it's the only model that makes sense for soccer below MLS.  If you look at the history of USL we are essentially moving back to the model that was in place back in the late '90s and it was incredibly successful (I think there were 30 teams in the league in 1999!)  Once the decision was made to switch USL1 to a single table we started to see a very high level of franchise attrition and churn. USL PRO has the added advantage of essentially being run by the teams, all major decisions will be made by a board with each team represented.  Assuming we can continue to bring in like minded ownership groups the commonality of purpose will add tremendous value to the league."

NQ:  Will the decisions of that board include expansion teams.

AB:  "Yes, it's my understanding that the board's responsibility will include expansion."

NQ:  Have you heard anything about new clubs or teams moving up from PDL to join USL PRO?

AB:  " I know that it is a strong possibly but I can't comment on other teams that might participate.  I think the next couple of years we will see the league grow very quickly; the challenge is going to managing that growth."

NQ:  Tim Holt mentioned in a recent press release that there could be up to "four regional divisions" in 2011.   Has there been any hint as to which regions those division might be and who the Battery might be aligned with?

AB:  "It's my understanding that the regions will become clear once the participating teams have all been announced."

NQ:  Do you have any idea what that timeline might be?

AB:  "I would hope everything is clear before the AGM in November."

NQ  Any chance we might see the Wilmington Hammerheads return in 2011?

AB:  "I would love to see a team back in Wilmington sometime soon;  there is no doubt that it is a great market for a team at this level."

An article out of Wilmington went to press the same time we were putting together this interview.  The article explains the Hammerhead situation and hope of bringing back the team.

Ex-owner trying to get Hammerheads back

NQ;  I know the Battery season just finished, but things have got to be moving onto next season already.   Can we expect the Carolina Challenge Cup in March again?  How about another great exhibition with another EPL team?

AB:  "We are working on the Carolina Challenge Cup and will hopefully be able to announce the participating teams a little earlier this year.  We are definitely interested in bringing over an EPL side for another exhibitions next summer; hosting Bolton Wanders was great all around experience."

NQ:  Can we expect a similar length season in 2011 as we had in 2010?

AB:  "Yes, I would expect a similar length of season but again it's my understanding that this well be decided by the Board of Governors."

Thanks Andrew for taking the time to talking to us.

Additional news.

The NASL bid to USSF mentioned in the last article on No Quarter has been submitted.  Here is an interesting quote from an article on Inside Minnesota Soccer:

The Rochester Rhino's are conspicuously absent from the NASL bid even though team owner Rob Clark has a multi-year commitment to the NASL.  Clark was contacted several times today for comment but did not return the calls.  Clark has admitted to attending the USL PRO meeting in Orlando in September and told IMS he was considering his options.
Read the entire article at the following link.

NASL Submits Bid for Division-2 Sanctioning for 2011

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