Thursday, February 3, 2011

The far

With about a month until the Charleston Battery retake the pitch at Blackbaud Stadium during the Carolina Challenge Cup, it's time to start talking about who we might see suit up for the Battery in 2011.

Here is the roster of players that the Battery currently has on their website:
  • Stephen Armstrong
  • Yeniel Bermudez
  • Levi Coleman
  • Jon Gruenewald
  • Alioune Gueye
  • Kevin Jackson
  • Nigel Marples
  • Brandon Massie
  • Nicki Paterson
  • Zack Prince
  • Keith Wiggins
  • Mike Zaher 
At first glance it is a solid group returning.  There are some obvious absentees but that is normal with lower division soccer, especially after a team wins the Championship match and offers come in for you better players.  no Quarter will break it down by position starting up top.

With the Tommy Heinemann up with the Columbus Crew, Lamar Neagle looking like he is going to be going back to the Seattle Sounders and Levi Coleman the only forward listed.  I imagine the Battery will be looking for a couple forwards.  Replacing a striking duo like Heinemann and Neagle isn't going to be easy.  An experience striker along with one or two younger ones to add to Coleman would seem in order.

Midfield seems about the same as last season except for the departure of Ian Fuller, who will be an assistant coach with the Orlando City SC and Mayard who is back with Montreal.  Gueye and Armstrong are solid.  Gruenewald looked good in preseason last year but an injury nagged him until late in the season.  Massie and Prince both improved as the season progress.  New boy Nicki Paterson has proved he can play at this level and should be another solid addition to the midfield.  I still think a player or two to deepen the roster would be nice as the season is long and injuries are always likely.

Defense is another area we could use some beefing up.  Zaher coming back would be great. But he is currently on trial in Norway.  Bermudez didn't get the minutes I thought he deserved and thought he was out of contract as he is now living in Alaska.  Marples is solid in the central defense.  Wilson shoes will be hard to fill as his experience was a huge factor.  Colin Falvey is playing in New Zealand, and according to reports, still has an option to play with the Battery this season but hasn't decided yet if he will.

Wiggins was dogged with injury last season but even if healthy I'm sure another keeper is high on Auggie's list.

Now here is where things get tricky.

If you haven't been following the ever twisting saga that is Division 2 soccer in the North America, the US Soccer Federation, revoked NASL provincial sanctioning label.  NASL, made up of Montreal Impact, Carolina Railhawks, Minnesota Stars, Miami FC, FC Tampa Bay, Edmonton FC and the Puerto Rico Islanders was given until Feb 11 to get their affairs in order and could resubmit the bid.

IF the USSF doesn't change their minds about NASL sanctioning, it would create a very interesting dilemma for those clubs.  Without sanctioning, the league could go ahead as a "Rogue League" but players, refs, coach would be banned from FIFA events.  The likely hood of any players doing this are slim as there are serious repercussion for them.

Another option would be to not bid for D2 sanctioning but apply for D3 status.  Aaron Davidson, CEO of NASL, said pretty much its D2 or bust for them so that doesn't seem to be an option.

The third option is for the teams and league to fold.  If this happens, there could be dozens of players looking for a team. 

I imagine we won't be seeing too much movement  from the Battery until this ordeal is finished.  I imagine the Battery has its eye on a few players it would like to bring in; from the combine and trials, from MLS rosters, to overseas players and from other teams, and are waiting to pounce the minute the USSF decision is made. 


Anonymous said...

good article Mikey. Any chance on NASL teams joining USL PRO?

Mikey said...

this is just my personal opinion as I havent really heard anything other than speculation but I would say no this season. The Traffic owned teams would be hard pressed to get back in. Montreal really doesnt need USL or NASL, it has MLS. Edmonton is too isolated. Tampa and Puerto Rico maybe but it's very late in the game to rearrange the whole schedule. Dates changes, printer issues, etc.

Anonymous said...

I think a lot of USL teams are waiting to see what happens with NASL. But NASL folding doesn't really open the floodgates for players finding work. That's because there are very few players signed to NASL teams right now. The good ones bolted to MLS because of the NASL's uncertainty. Even Montreal lost a top player. Can't blame them. The others are owned by Traffic. There aren't really any good players in NASL now. The pickings are slim even if they fold.

MLS expanding the rosters to 30 and the reserve squads makes it harder to find players. Although the possibility of more loan deals increase. I can see a lot of players bouncing between the 19-30 MLS roster spots and USL teams to get playing time.

SC Soccer Blog said...

Good article. Hopefully we can snag a couple of forwards from one of these NASL teams. You never know if a player wants to make a move just to be 100% sure he's going to be playing at a stable club. But we'll see.

Mikey said...

Good point Anon but there are still many players looking and I imagine weighing there options to see what happens with NASL. While no where complete, I imagine you could field a very competative team with what is currently on NASL rosters. I heard Frankie Sanfilippo is looking at Tampa Bay but I would love to see him come back to the Battery on the backline. The Battery only needs a couple key players with some players for depth. With both Crystal Palace Baltimore and AC St. Louis folding pretty much their rosters are availble (granted I think CPB roster was only 14 players at the end of the year!)

MLS roster increase will definately take a few players but you would have to think most MLS teams are going to be looking at young players that they can get cheaply. I also imagine they wont be taking many foreign players due to roster limits. I can see alot of loans as well. How great would it be for recovering Chalie Davis or Henry to suit up for the Battery? (just dreaming here)