With just more than two weeks until the kick off of the 2011 USL Pro season, the Charleston Battery currently have 19 players listed on their roster. There is doubt about one player, midfielder Alioune Gueye returning to the Battery this season as he is trying to latch onto a club closer to his home in Africa which would put the roster at 18 if he doesn't return.
Earlier in the season, Coach Anhaueser spoke to the Regiment, the Battery supporter group, at their monthly meeting and said they were looking to have a roster of around 21 or 22 players. So there is theoretically three or four more players to sign.
So who will they be?
Gone from camp are Luke Mullholland, Jerry Saintil, Jose Cuevas and a few others that have moved on better offers or definate starting positions.
Still left and unsigned are Mark Wiltse, JC Mack, Alex Caskey, and the trio from the College of Charleston; Sean Bateau, Kareem Yearwood and Sean Flatley. Also in camp is Diego Walsh, who we now understand is just training with the team until May, when he will fly to Asia to take part in multiple trials there. Finally there is the young kid Nico Rittmeyer from Savannah. We are unsure if he is solely training with the team or if he is competing for a spot.
Both Yearwood and Bateau are nursing some injuries and neither has gotten much playing time in the recent preseason matches.
Sean Flatley has been seeing alot of time on the pitch and he looks like a good solid central defender. Wiltse has also been seeing alot of time as a right back. There are currently six defenders on the roster; Falvey, Marples, Wilson, Zaher and with recent signing of Dugoni. Flatley could be good cover in the center and Wiltse good cover on the outside.
Midfielder Alex Caskey played a good match against the College of Charleston earlier in the week and has to be being looked at. Midfield will be a tough position to break the starting line up in. Armstong, Jackson, Gruenwald, Prince (who is listed as a mid and forward) along with new boys, Evan Taylor Nicki Paterson and Cole Peverley will make it difficult.
JC Mack has done well through the preseason, in fact, one website is already anouncing that he has signed. His speed and tenacity will be welcome to the team while the Battery looks for a tandem to take over for Tommy Heinemann and Lamar Neagle, both who have moved on to MLS.
We think that the four players with the best shot are Wiltse, Flatley, Caskey and Mack. Bateau and Yearwood could still be included as they are more or less local players and likely wouldn't have big salaries.
The big unknown is Nico Rittmeyer. The kid is fast, reads the game well, crosses well and knows how to put the ball on target. If research is correct, he is only a junior in high school and 17 years old. Is he looking to go professional and possibly bypass the college route? Hopefully we find out some more info on him but regardless, he is one to watch.