Charleston Battery News Release -- www.charlestonbattery.com
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The 2010 USL-2 champion Charleston Battery will participate in USL PRO beginning with the 2011 season. Created through a merger of the United Soccer Leagues First and Second Divisions, USL PRO will represent the highest level of competition in the United States, Canada and the Caribbean outside of Major League Soccer (MLS).
By joining USL PRO the Battery will be part of a national league that features a regional competition model to build natural rivalries. USL PRO is expected to have as many as four geographic regions in 2011, and additional participants in the league are expected to be announced soon.
“The Charleston Battery have been a model franchise for USL for nearly two decades, so we’re obviously extremely pleased they have chosen to be a cornerstone of USL PRO,” USL President Tim Holt said. “Not only are the Battery the reigning USL champions, they’re a shining example of how a franchise should be run both on and off the field.”
USL PRO will feature a Board of Governors responsible for making all major decisions for the league including expansion, competition format and commercial strategy. The U.S. Soccer Federation-affiliated league will benefit from the leadership of the dedicated and experienced professional staff at USL’s Tampa headquarters as well as the developmental support of USL’s proven and integrated system of leagues.
“We’ve felt for many years that soccer below MLS should be organized regionally and it’s great that its finally going to happen,” said Charleston Battery President Andrew Bell. “The fact that there will also be a national footprint with multiple regions is going add an extra level of excitement for fans when the playoffs come around each season.”
Formed in 1993 the Charleston Battery has won USL Championships on three occasions; 1996, 2003 & 2010. The Battery plays at Blackbaud Stadium, Daniel Island, the first privately-financed soccer-specific stadium in the United States. In addition to USL PRO, the Battery also competes in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and is the host each spring of the premier pre-season tournament in the United States, the Carolina Challenge Cup.
Founded in 1986, United Soccer Leagues has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (USL Super Y-League/USL Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (USL Premier Development League/USL W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO, I-League). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.