Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012, A Year in Review

As 2013 is set to begin, we thought we would look back on 2012 and a put together a list of some of the more memorable moments from the Battery's 20th season!

Best Goal:  Nicki Paterson's volley from 20 yards out against the Orlando City Lions  Head over to the archive section and find the June 9 match vs. Orlando, skip to the 40 minute of the video and just watch and be amazed.

Best Save:  Got to be the stop Andrew Dykstra made during penalty kicks against Rochester in the playoff match. Which one you ask?  All of them.

Best Win: The away win playoff match against Rochester.  A dramatic last minute goal by Tony Donatelli to send the game into extra time only to be followed by a dramatic penalty shoot out.  The match was best summed up by the folks over at "The Beautiful Game":

In the world of sports, good games are usually remembered for a few days but often forgotten when the next match rolls around.  Great games sometimes become the high point of the season with maybe a play or two finding a place in our mental highlight reels.  Then, in an entirely separate category, are the monumental contests in which legends are born, showcasing such passion and persistence, where seconds of brilliance become defining moments, to be remembered forever from the smallest fan to the seasoned executive.

Still some of my favorite words written about the game of soccer and the fact that they are about he Charleston Battery make them even sweeter!

Check out this video for the celebrations following JC Mack's penalty to win the match.

Best Tailgate:  Championship Game Day where the spread was amazing!   From the curry's to the sides to the beverages.  We must of had close to 150 to 200 people come through.  A special shout out to the Port City Firm for joining us, we might support different clubs but we're all supporters of the beautiful game.

Best Roadtrip:  The Annual Regiment bus trip is always a great time and this year was no different.  About 35 faithful soles boarded the bus for Wilmington to watch the Battery take on the Hammerheads.  The Port City Firm were gracious hosts and fed us well and kept us lubricated before the match.  Sadly, the Battery lost 2-1 but luckily their were a few beers left in the cooler for the ride home!

Best Off-Pitch Story:   Well some things are best unmentioned in public!  Perhaps if you buy me a drink or two I'll share the story with you!

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

MLS and USL Pro Affiliation?

Rumors have been floating around for a couple months about some sort of agreement being worked on between MLS and USL Pro but with the USL Annual General Meeting wrapping up, there seems to be some vague details starting to surface. Affiliation

What do we know?  Well nothing for certain but Jason Davis at North American Soccer Network is reports this
 "USL informed its member clubs of a proposed agreement with MLS that would provide for an integrated third Division/MLS reserve league.  We could see some interplay between USL Pro and MLS reserves teams in 2013 and full integration in 2014.

The details as understood are:

If an MLS city has a USL Pro team nearby, MLS will provide 5 players and pay their salary

If there is no USL Pro team, the MLS reserve team will be come a new, permanent team in USL Pro

All USL Pro teams will have an MLS affiliate. "

Reading the details leave a lot of questions unanswered.  What is "nearby"? 50 miles?  100 miles?  What does the"affiliation" entail?  Does it mean we get a couple players every now and then?  Who would be the Battery affiliated club?  Is it similar to the ECHL South Carolina Stingray's affiliation with the NHL Boston Bruins?

Loans can be double edge swords as we saw last year.  Dykstra was typically on a game to game loan with the Battery.  He wasn't allowed to play in US Open Cup matches as DC United didn't want him cup tied.  Our Jamaican's Boyd and Kelly had to return to their parent club in Jamaica just as the play off started. But if we can get a couple players it would definitely add to the depth of the squad.

Having MLS reserve or "B" teams playing in USL Pro isn't as strange as it sounds on the surface.  Spanish and German teams have a "second" team playing in the lower divisions.  Obviously if all MLS teams enter a USL Pro team it would increase the league by 19 teams and allow regional divisions as USL envisions.  

The affiliation detail is the one that peaks the most interest.  Does this mean a friendly?  Exchange of coaching ideas?  Branding?  Short term loans?  Opportunities for USL players to train with MLS teams after (or even before) the USL season? 

As you can see it will be interesting to see what info we can find out and even if this will become a reality.

One thing is for sure, the Battery has a proud past.  They have also been very prudent on the business side of   game.  I imagine that they will only contnue this trend and we will still have the same proud and competative Charleston Battery we have come to love over the years.

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Carolina Challenge Cup

Christmas is around the corner with only three weeks until the fat man with the beard comes and hopefully leaves me something besides a lump a coal.  Almost exciting is that in just over 10 weeks, the Carolina Challenge Cup kicks off.

The 2013 Carolina Challenge Cup will be played February 16 through 23 at Blackbaud Stadium.  The 10th anniversary of the annual preseason tournament will feature the Chicago Fire, Vancouver Whitecaps, and the runners up to the 2012 MLS Cup, the Houston Dynamo and of course, The Charleston Battery.

Tickets are now on sale and more details can be found at the Battery's website

The Regiment is looking forward to hosting its usual tailgates and depending on demand, a return of the annual supporters pub crawl.

In other news around USL Pro.  look for two new teams joining in 2013.  First off is the Phoenix Wolves FC.  Based in Phoenix, Arizona, they will be a much needed addition to the West Coast.

Also coming in will be The Tampa Bay Flames based in Tampa Bay, Florida.  This looks to be an instant rival with the Orlando City Lions.  They have lofty goals and plan on constructing a new temporary stadium for the 2013 season.

Also entering the league in 2014 is Sacramento  with an experienced ownership group and a home stadium already, they will be holding a "Name the team" contest 

Look for more updates on the players and Battery news over the next couple weeks.