Friday, February 25, 2011

Battery Trials Underway, Woodbine Update

The Charleston Battery began there invite only player trials on Thursday at Blackbaud Stadium.

The trials featured a few players from previous Battery trials and the USL combine plus the Battery players that are currently in town.

Present from the 2010 team were Stephen Armstrong, Kevin Jackson, Nigel Marples, Zach Prince, Brandon Maisse and Keith Wiggins.  Colin Falvey is expected back in Charleston sometime next week. 

No definative word on Mike Zaher and his trial in Finland but he seems to regular feature on IFK's preseason roster for friendlies.

Also not present were Alioune Gueye (heard he is looking at a club in Africa), John Grunewald (recovering from surgery), Levi Coleman (indoor) and new boys Nicki Paterson and Cole Peverley (still not arrived)

There were also 20 or so unsigned players out there Thursday looking to impress.  The players were broken into to three teams of 9 or 10 each.  Two teams played one another for 20 minutes or so, then the third team swapped out with one of the teams on the field.  The teams continually rotated the team for about 2 1/2 hours.

As a courtesy to the Battery, I'll withhold any names until they have evaluated and negotiated with the players.  One of the reasons they changed the date of the trials was to make it easier to hold a player over for the Carolina Challenge Cup.  While I only watched one session and they continue through the weekend, there were a couple impressive players.  I imagine several of these players will be announced at the season ticket holders "Meet and Greet" at the Three Lions next Wednesday night.

Obrian Woodbine to Finland

OB signed with Finish team VPS VAASA of the Finnish First Division.  Finland seems to be a popular destination currently with several USL players ending up there including Lamar Neagle's stint at IFK after the Championship match and Mike Zaher's current trial with IFK.  We'll keep you updated with OB throughout the season.

Also look for a feature on former Battery player Amaury Nunes.  Nunes, after the Battery's championship match, went on to play in Germany and in December, left the bitter cold to embark on a new adventure on the beaches of Goa, India.  We'll bring you his adventure in the upcoming week.

Finally, don't forget to sign up for the Regiment membership.  You can save 10 percent at the proshop on the new look Battery jersey with the new three championship star crest and the new AvVenta sponsor logo. the $20 level gets you a Battery scarf and the $40 level gets you a embroidered Regiment polo in you choice of Black, Red or Yellow along with some other perks.  We will have membership forms at the "Meet and Greet" next Wednesday and at all the Carolina Challenge Cup matches. 

Monday, February 21, 2011

Here we go, Here we go, Here we go!

With less than two weeks until the Battery suits up and starts it 2011 campaign, I'm starting to get all giddy.

Checking out my flags and banners,  making sure the grill is ready for the tailgates, checking the and for rumors of players or developments with other teams or the league, I even got my jersey and scarf ready for the first match.

So I thought I do a quick recap and an update on a few things going one.

Player Movements

Its tough keeping a Championship team together.  Most teams come sniffing at your players.  They offer more money or the chance to move up to a higher division. Not a hard decision for a young player.

Tommy Heinemann signed with the Columbus Crew at the end of last year.  He currently has a significant knock that has been keeping him sidelined for a bit.   Hopefully he recovers quickly as I think he can fit the MLS style easily enough.

Lamar Neagle is currently on trial with Seattle Sounders.  He has been tearing it up in camp and has recieved alot of praise from Sigi Schmit the Sounders head coach

"I think the year last year helped him a tremendous amount at Charleston. I think Mike Anhaeuser did a great job with him, helped his confidence. Sometimes dropping down, just like with a Brian Ching when he came back to the Sounders that year then pushing back up really helped him. I think it's really helped Lamar. He's definitely a guy we have to seriously consider for this team."

Mike Zaher's trial in Norway didn't ban out but he is now in Finland on trial with the team Lamar went to at the end of the season, IFK Mariehamm.  He is set to play the full 90 min in his second preseason match on Feb 19 with IFK.

Current Roster

The Battery roster is now at 13.  Bermudez was recently removed, from what I understand it was his own request.  He moved to Alaska to start a life with a woman (from here in Charleston) that took a job up there.  Best of luck to Bermudez.

Added were Nicki Patterson and Cole Peverley as well as the returning Defender Colin Falvey.  Both Marples and Falvey were solid last year.  

We've been told that Gruenwald picked up another serious knock and that would certainly explain the ammount of midfielders we currently have on the roster.

Expect Armstrong to take over Fuller's roll of player/assistant coach.  Stephen's leadership on and off the field and his experience make him key to a successful season this year.

New Players

We've been told that the reason the Battery Trials were delayed a week is that it would make it easier to keep a few of the players around for the Carolina Challenge Cup.  Last heard there are more than 12 players that have been given the invite in and they were waiting on responses from several others.

The Battery shared a few names at the Regiment meeting a couple days ago but we wont go public as it may hurt the negotiation process (or another team might come in a scoop a player!)  We will say that some of the players mentioned would be welcome additions to the Battery.

Off the pitch

Here are a few more things going and look for more details as the dates get closer.
Meet and greet and with Battery players will be March 2 for season ticket holders.

Regiment memberships are now available see the No Quarter article for more info.  Get a Scarf or polo with you membership along with discount at the proshop and other perks!  Plus you help support the Battery and a couple charitable causes along the way.

NASL was barely sanctioned by the US Soccer Federation.  The eight NASL teams will be under a close eye by the federation and will have to apply for sanctioning again before the 2012 season.

US Open Cup dates have been set and NASL was left out of them.  USSF said it was because the dates were set but there are theroies that it was because USSF wanted to send a message to NASL.  Get your crap together this year.

The Southern Derby is set to take place this year between Charleston, Charlotte and Wilmington.  The dates have been projected and we should have details soon after the Carolina Challenge Cup.

And on the subject of the Carolina Challenge Cup, DC United have signed US Men's National Team player Charlie Davis.   Keep an eye on the Battery website as they ae sending out Carolina Challenge Cup updates

Saturday, February 12, 2011

We want join the Regiment!

Do you support the Charleston Battery?  Do you like hanging out with like minded people?  Do you like saving money?  Then what are you waiting for, Join the Regiment!

Started in 1999, The Regiment is the official supporters group of the Charleston Battery. The Regiment's main goal is to elevate the atmosphere at Blackbaud stadium.  We hold regular tailgates, organize trips to away games, create banners, and try to be "the twelfth man" for the players on the pitch.  And at the end of the year, we fire up the grills, break out a few cold beverages, invite the players and staff and enjoy an afternoon of food and fun.

We also help various charitable causes and support our players off the field if they need it.

This season, you can become a Regiment member for as little as $20. That's right we dropped the price by $10 bucks this year.   The regular membership package includes a Charleston Battery scarf, 10% discount at the Battery Pro Shop, discounts on away bus trips, tailgates, as well as the invite to the players picnic.  The scarf and discount at the proshop (need a new jersey or t-shirt?) will more than pay for the membership cost and you're helping a good cause. 

Already have a scarf?  The Regiment offers a $40 premium kit that includes a Regiment logo polo shirt in your choice of black, red or yellow, as well as the 10% discount in the proshop, away bus trips, tailgates and the invite to the players picnic. 

The Regiment has a table at each home match under the West Stands in Blackbuad Stadium.  Come by and talk to one of the board members before the match or during half time.  Or find "The Regiment" on Facebook.  The Regiment does a majority of its communication about tailgates and other event there.

During the games you can find a majority of the Regiment members in section E10, waving flags, singing (or attempting to!) songs and cheering out boys onto victory!  Do you have to stand in E10 if you join the Regiment?  No, the Regiment want passionate fans throughout the 'Baud.  So if find it hard to give up those midfield seats or enjoy the company around you, that is fine.  You will still have the benefit of knowing you are helping support your local club.

Still not sure?  Come by one of the Regiment meetings.  The Regiment is now meeting at the newly opened Madra Rua Pub in Summerville.  They meet the second Tuesday of each month at 7pm.  Come by for a beer, see what it is all about and have a good time. 

Convinced?  Download this form, fill it out and either mail it to the address shown or bring it by the Regiment table before one of the Battery matches. We will get your package to you as soon as possible and hope you can join in the fun.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Piecing together the Battery preseason schedule

Yesterday, The Regiment hosted Battery President Andrew Bell and Head Coach Mike Anhaeuser at the monthly Regiment meeting.  Most of what was said was off the record but it was said that they are nearly ready to release their preseason schedule for matches other than the Carolina Challenge Cup.  The Battery are waiting on one team to confirm the date and will release the entire schedule at once. 

But news starting to spring up in press releases from two local colleges that they are playing the Battery.

Wednesday, March 16 at Charleston, SC
7:00 p.m. - Clemson at Charleston Battery
Clemson Press Release

Clemson has a good program over the years, producing several notable players including Johnny Wilson, Ian Fuller and US Men's National team players Oguchi "Gooch" Onyewu and Steward Holden.  This will be a good test for the Battery.

Tuesday, March 22 at Patriots Point, Charleston
3:00pm - College of Charleston v. Charleston Battery
College of Charleston Press Release

Ralph Lundy will play his boys against the Battery down at Patriots Point.  The College of Charleston's home field is a nice little stadium and the 3:00pm kick-off should make for a nice afternoon contest.

Well update you as we find out more!

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.