The Charleston Battery is an American professional soccer club based in Charleston, South Carolina and member of the USL Championship. Founded in 1993, the Battery is one of the oldest continuously operating professional soccer clubs in the United States, tied with the Richmond Kickers.
|Full name||Charleston Battery|
|Nickname(s)||Battery, Holy City|
|Stadium||MUSC Health Stadium|
Charleston, South Carolina
|Owner||B Sports Entertainment|
|Head Coach||Mike Anhaeuser|
|2018||4th, Eastern Conference|
Playoffs: Conference Quarterfinals
Charleston is one of the more successful lower division soccer clubs in the United States, having won the USISL Pro League in 1996, the USL A-League in 2003, and the final season of the USL Second Division in 2010. In 2012, the team won the USL Pro Championship, winning its fourth league title in club history. Charleston is also the most successful club in the history of the unofficial Southern Derby competition with eight first-place finishes.
The club has played its home games at the soccer-specific MUSC Health Stadium in the Daniel Island section of Charleston since 1999. The team's colors are black and yellow, with a traditional red scheme for away uniforms. Since 2005, their head coach and general manager has been Mike Anhaeuser.
The Battery was formed in 1993 by an ownership group of local soccer enthusiasts led by Tony Bakker, a native of London who had relocated his software company Blackbaud to the Charleston area in 1989. The club hired experienced college coach and University of South Carolina graduate Tim Hankinson to develop the team, and the Battery started as a member of the USISL, which eventually evolved and came to be known as the USL in 1995. The Battery won their first league championship in 1996 under Portuguese manager Nuno Piteira, defeating the Charlotte Eagles 3–2 in the final. In 1997 Charleston became one of the original clubs of the newly branded A-League (later the USL First Division).
In 1999 the Battery moved into what is now known as MUSC Health Stadium, becoming the first non-Major League Soccer professional club in the United States to build its own stadium, and forged a reputation as one of the country's most well-established lower division clubs. The Battery hired veteran English coach Alan Dicks and signed many experienced domestic players such as Paul Conway, Dan Calichman and Eric Wynalda while also bringing in notable foreign signings such as Terry Phelan and Raúl Díaz Arce. In 2001 Dicks was replaced by fellow Englishman Chris Ramsey, who led Charleston to the A-League championship in 2003 with a 3–0 victory in the final over Minnesota Thunder in Charleston. Following Ramsey's departure in 2004, the club promoted longtime player and assistant coach Mike Anhaeuser to be the club's new manager.
In 2008 the Battery reached the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup final for the first time, playing against Major League Soccer team D.C. United at RFK Stadium. In the final the Battery conceded an early goal but bounced back with a quick-fire equalizer through an Ian Fuller goal, assisted by Chris Williams. Later in the half Lazo Alavanja hit the post but at half time the scores were tied at 1–1. At the start of the second half Charleston conceded early again, but in the final seconds of extra time Marco Reda put the ball in the back of the net for Charleston, only to have his goal controversially disallowed as offside. D.C. United would go on to win the match 2–1. Charleston remain the most recent non-MLS club to play in the Open Cup final.
In 2010 Charleston was invited by several other USL clubs to join the breakaway league eventually known as the North American Soccer League, but the Battery chose to remain in the USL system and self-relegate to the USL Second Division, which eventually became the chief USL professional division. In their first third division season in 2010, Charleston led the league standings for the entire year and went undefeated at home. Charleston defeated the Richmond Kickers 2–1 in the final to claim the club's third league championship. Lamar Neagle was named the USL-2 league MVP and lead the league in scoring with 13 league goals. Anhaeuser was named the league's manager of the year, his second time receiving the honor. In 2012 the Battery won their fourth league title in club history, defeating local rivals Wilmington Hammerheads 1–0 in the final. Micheal Azira scored a 74th-minute winner after Jose Cuevas slipped a pass to him on the left side of the penalty area.
In recent years the Battery have had loan affiliations with several Major League Soccer clubs, beginning with a one-year deal to become the USL Pro affiliate of Vancouver Whitecaps FC in 2014. For the 2015 season, the Battery signed a one-year deal to affiliate with the Houston Dynamo. On January 15, 2016, it was announced that the club would be partnering with the Atlanta United FC for the 2016 MLS season prior to Atlanta's entry to MLS in 2017.
In February 2016, it was announced that longtime majority owner Tony Bakker had sold the club to B Sports Entertainment, an investment group led by local tech executives. Club president Andrew Bell and manager Mike Anhaeuser remained in charge of team operations after the ownership transition. In early 2018 it was announced that Bell would be leaving the club to take over operations of an announced USL expansion club in Memphis, Tennessee, ending a two-decade career in the Charleston front office. Bell was replaced by club operations officer Mike Kelleher.
Colors and badgeEdit
Charleston's traditional colors are yellow, black and red. In the Battery's first few seasons, the home kit was typically black and white with a red accent. Beginning in 1997 the club began using black with yellow stripes, which has remained in use as the home jersey ever since. The Charleston away kit has typically been a combination of red, white and black, though for the 2017 season the away kit is either the 25 Anniversary black and silver combination, or white and black.
The club badge has been the same throughout its history, other than minor adjustments in color, resolution and the addition of four stars representing each of the team's league championships. It is a classic shield in the club's signature yellow and black stripes, featuring a pair of crossed artillery cannons (alluding to the city's naval history and prominent role in the American Revolution and American Civil War) above a depiction of a soccer ball.
- Stoney Field; Charleston, South Carolina (1993–1998)
- MUSC Health Stadium (formerly Blackbaud Stadium); Daniel Island, Charleston, South Carolina (1999–present)
The Battery played their first six seasons in downtown Charleston at Stoney Field, a facility they shared with various college and high school sports teams.
The club moved to MUSC Health Stadium (previously known as Blackbaud Stadium) in the suburban Daniel Island area in 1999. The first privately funded soccer-specific stadium built in the United States, it seats 5,100 people. MUSC Health Stadium is modeled on lower level English soccer grounds and features an on-site pub called The Three Lions behind the west stand. The stadium site also features a training field and club offices.
In 2016, the new ownership built the second-largest video board in the Southeast. MUSC Health Stadium's jumbotron is 3,000 square feet. When comparing the square footage to stadium seats ratio, the video board is the largest in the world.
Additionally, the complex includes sky boxes, a plaza for corporate entertaining, and state-of-the-art media capabilities, making it one of the premier professional soccer venues in the U.S.
The Battery's official supporters' group is The Regiment, who stand in section E1 with other supporters' groups including the American Outlaws-affiliated Queen Anne's Revenge and the Spanish-speaking Charleston Barra Brava.
The Battery competes for the Coffee Pot Cup every time it faces their rival team D.C. United of Major League Soccer, a trophy established by the two sides' supporters and currently held by DC. The clubs have regularly faced each other in friendlies and cup competitions, with the 2008 US Open Cup final remaining the highest profile match between the two clubs to date. Charleston are also longtime league rivals of the Richmond Kickers, DC's minor league affiliate.
The team's home games are broadcast on CharlestonBattery.com and the local MyNetworkTV affiliate with play-by-play from club president Andrew Bell and commentary from former players Stephen Armstrong and Nelson Akwari. For many years the club were covered by Charleston Post & Courier sportswriter Keith Namm, and the publication's current beat writer for the Battery is Andrew Miller.
Players and staffEdit
- As of March 22, 2019
Where a player has not declared an international allegiance, nation is determined by place of birth.
- USL Academy player
- Mike Kelleher – President
- Mike Anhaeuser – Head Coach/General Manager
- Dusty Hudock – Assistant Coach/Goalkeeping Coach
- John Wilson – Assistant Coach
- Bobby Weisenberger – Head Athletic Trainer
Notable former playersEdit
This list includes those former players who received international caps while playing for the team, made significant contributions to the team in terms of appearances or goals, or who made significant contributions to the sport either before they played for the team, or after they left.
- See also: All-time Charleston Battery roster
- Nelson Akwari
- Osvaldo Alonso
- Mike Anhaeuser
- Lazo Alavanja
- Stephen Armstrong
- Khalil Azmi
- Dan Calichman
- Ted Chronopoulos
- Paul Conway
- Omar Daley
- Raúl Díaz Arce
- Linval Dixon
- Colin Falvey
- Ben Hollingsworth
- Dusty Hudock
- Lee Hurst
- Gilbert Jean-Baptiste
- Dane Kelly
- Forrest Lasso
- John Limniatis
- Lester More
- Lamar Neagle
- Patrick Olalere
- Bo Oshoniyi
- Nicki Paterson
- Terry Phelan
- Zach Prince
- Robert Rosario
- Brent Sancho
- Dean Sewell
- Nicky Spooner
- Temoc Suarez
- Mark Watson
- John Wilson
- Eric Wynalda
- Velko Yotov
- Paul Young
- Tim Hankinson (1993–1994)
- Nuno Piteira (1995–1999)
- Alan Dicks (1999–2001)
- Chris Ramsey (2001–2004)
- Mike Anhaeuser (2004–present)
- USL A-League
- Champions (2): 1996*, 2003
- Atlantic Division Champions (2): 1995*, 2000
- Southeast Division Champions (2): 2002, 2003
- USL Second Division
- USL Championship
- Champions (1): 2012
- U.S. Open Cup
- Runner Up (1): 2008
- Semifinals (2): 1999, 2004
- Quarterfinals (3): 2007, 2009, 2010
- Southern Derby
- Winner (8): 2003, 2005^, 2009^, 2010, 2011, 2015, 2016, 2017
|Year||Division||League||Regular Season||Playoffs||Open Cup||Avg. Attendance|
|1993||1||USISL||5th, Atlantic||Play-in Game||Did not enter||—|
|1994||1||USISL||2nd, Atlantic||Semifinals||Did not enter||—|
|1995||1||USISL Pro League||1st, Atlantic||Divisional Semifinals||Did not qualify||—|
|1996||3||USISL Pro League||2nd, South Atlantic||Champions||Did not qualify||1,467|
|1997||2||USISL A-League||4th, Atlantic||Division Finals||Did not qualify||1,737|
|1998||2||USISL A-League||4th, Atlantic||Conference Quarterfinals||Did not qualify||1,896|
|1999||2||USL A-League||3rd, Atlantic||Conference Quarterfinals||Semifinals||3,542|
|2000||2||USL A-League||1st, Atlantic||Conference Semifinals||2nd Round||3,485|
|2001||2||USL A-League||2nd, Central||1st Round||3rd Round||3,083|
|2002||2||USL A-League||1st, Southeast||Conference Semifinals||3rd Round||3,320|
|2003||2||USL A-League||1st, Southeast||Champions||Did not qualify||3,969|
|2004||2||USL A-League||8th Eastern||Did not qualify||Semifinals||3,715|
|2005||2||USL First Division||9th||Did not qualify||2nd Round||3,649|
|2006||2||USL First Division||3rd||Semifinals||4th Round||3,628|
|2007||2||USL First Division||10th||Did not qualify||Quarterfinals||3,968|
|2008||2||USL First Division||5th||1st Round||Runner Up||3,991|
|2009||2||USL First Division||4th||1st round||Quarterfinals||3,534|
|2010||3||USL Second Division||1st||Champions||Quarterfinals||3,641|
|2011||3||USL||4th, American||Division Semifinals||2nd Round||3,568|
|2015||3||USL||3rd, Eastern||Conference Semifinals||4th Round||4,080|
|2016||3||USL||6th, Eastern||Conference Semifinals||3rd Round||3,570|
|2017||2||USL||2nd, Eastern||Conference Quarterfinals||4th Round||3,167|
|2018||2||USL||4th, Eastern||Conference Quarterfinals||4th Round||2,872|
Record vs. International and MLS teamsEdit
- "Charleston Battery soccer team sold to B Sports Entertainment". Retrieved February 8, 2016.
- "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". usl2.uslsoccer.com. Archived from the original on July 24, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/aug/Charleston[permanent dead link] defeated the Richmond Kickers 2–1 to claim the championship, the third in the history of the club. 13/battery_stuffs_sounders50669/
- "United Soccer Leagues (USL)". usl2.uslsoccer.com. Archived from the original on July 18, 2012. Retrieved May 2, 2014.
- "Vancouver Whitecaps announce USL PRO affiliate agreement with Charleston Battery". Major League Soccer. January 23, 2014. Retrieved March 29, 2014.
- "Battery, Dynamo sign 2015 deal". Charleston Battery. December 22, 2014. Archived from the original on April 4, 2015. Retrieved January 11, 2015.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on January 15, 2010. Retrieved 2010-05-01.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "2019 roster". CharlestonBattery.com. Retrieved March 22, 2019.
Long Island Rough Riders
| USISL Pro League (USL-2) Winner
| USL A-League (USL-1) Champions
| USL Pro Champions
| Southern Derby Winner
| Southern Derby Winner
Co-winners with Atlanta Silverbacks