In the wake of the on-going USL soap opera that has been unfolding since summer, the Charleston Battery announced their intentions to relegate themselves to the USL Second Division for the upcoming 2010 season.
The Battery was never a member of the Team Owners Association, and in fact at one point was the only member of the USL First Division that wasn’t, and apparently no longer saw playing in what is shaping up to be a fractured First Division as a financially viable option. The TOA recently added the Tampa Bay Rowdies and Crystal Palace Baltimore to its ranks, as Kartik reports here.
This move sees Charleston follow the Pittsburgh Riverhounds, and local rivals the Charlotte Eagles and Richmond Kickers in decided to move down to the Second Division selectively. Meanwhile the other potential local rival, Wilmington, continues to search for a new owner after being kicked-out of the USL last month.
Charleston is an interesting case, they can claim to be the first professional club in the modern era to have a soccer-specific stadium, the 5,100-seat Blackbaud Stadium on Daniel Island. But they also appear to be the first victim of the schism between the USL and the TOA, it would be a great shame for American soccer to lose one of it’s cornerstone clubs because of this bickering.