The Who the F#%k are You Series allows BMH readers to become familiar with clubs they may be completely unfamiliar with. Of course, if you’re a fan of USL, NASL, or NWSL, then maybe you know exactly who these clubs are. Congrats to you, now fuck off and let the rest of us learn something.
United Soccer League (USL) is considered the third tier of US soccer, after MLS (first tier) and NASL (second tier). Established in 2011, the league has grown dramatically, adding teams all over the country. Previously, USL was a single table league, but after aggressive growth in 2014 decided to divide the clubs into a two conference structure (Eastern and Western). Most of the clubs (21 out of 29) are affiliates of MLS clubs, some so boring that they named their clubs Galaxy II, Red Bulls II, and Sounds FC 2. Fuck that bullshit, I like a club with some originality.
Charleston Battery are, of course, based out of Charleston, South Carolina. They are tied with the Richmond Kickers as the oldest continuously operating soccer club in the United States (since 1993). They have played in multiple leagues, outlasting the USISL, the original USL, and the A-League. They ignored a chance to join the NASL in 2010, remaining in the USL (now third tier).
The Battery have a rich club history, with multiple titles (in several different leagues), famous players (like Eric Wynalda), but nothing topped the team reaching the 2008 Finals of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. They lost to DC United 2-1 and remain the last non-MLS club to make it to the final. The sustained success of this club has allowed them to play in their own soccer-specific stadium, MUSC Health Stadium, which opened in 1999, the first major league soccer stadium in the United States. This year Charleston signed and affiliate agreement with MLS newcomer, Atlanta United FC.
Last year, the club finished 3rd in the Eastern Division and tapped out in the 4th round of the US Open Cup. My favorite player off the club is Odisnel Cooper, a Cuban-born defector who signed with the club in 2012. AFTER signing, it was discovered that Cooper was legally blind without glasses. He now wears contacts and is the starting goalkeeper.
So here’s a tiny team worth rooting for, a team with originality and history, a team with a bad ass logo, The Charleston Battery.