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Charleston Decides to Self-Relegate for 2010 Season


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.

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  1. Chris B

    November 23, 2009 at 9:42 pm

    Blackbaud Stadium is a wonderful setting for matches. I really love going down there for matches. I hope this does not hurt the Battery too much financially, wish them luck next year.

  2. Chris in Belfast

    November 23, 2009 at 7:15 pm

    Out of curiosity, how well does Charleston draw at Blackbaud? Would a bump UP division result in a significant bump in attendance, or do we think the market there is pretty much tapped out?

    I say this because I think since the US is so big it would be possible to have more than 20 teams in MLS and go to regional scheduling, having East-West teams only meeting in the playoff finals. That’s obviously contingent on their being significantly more sustainable soccer markets in the country.

    That said, it’s obviously good to have a robust lower league set-up, and we need teams like Charleston to survive, in whatever league they play in. Hopefully the step down will allow them to have better margins and not kill the team.

    I really should watch more USL1-2/NASL. Any word on whether or not games will be free again next season in either league?

    • Bobby Brandon

      November 23, 2009 at 8:07 pm

      No word on broadcast yet, I think it was briefly touched on in Kartik’s interview with Davidson (of Miami FC), podcast is around somewhere.

      Charleston averages between 2,500 and 4,000 depending on the opponent. The step down might not be bad actually, because although they lose Carolina as a rival, they gain Charlotte, Richmond and possibly Wilmington.

  3. Bobby Brandon

    November 23, 2009 at 4:52 pm

    Corrected. I blame fatigue, but that’s not an excuse I know.

  4. Jason

    November 23, 2009 at 4:24 pm

    its its its its its its its, not it’s.

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