Battery Drops To USL-2.

The team that was absent in recent announcements about the USL First Division and the new Second Division professional team has been the Charleston Battery.

Which way would they go?

Well, the answer is in, and it is neither. The Battery will stay in the United Soccer Leagues, but will drop down to third division status as a member of the USL Second Division.

That will keep intact longtime rivalries for the Battery with the Richmond Kickers, Charlotte Eagles and Wilmington Hammerheads.

The USL-1 has lost five teams to the new league, leaving only Augstin, Cleveland, Puerto Rico, Portland and Rochester as the holdovers from 2009. There is expected to be a USL=1 expansion team in New York. Portland will leave for Major League Soccer in 2011.

The USL First Division lost its sixth team following the announcement that the Charleston Battery, a USL member since 1993 with two championships to its name, will to play in the USL Second Division (third level) in 2010.

The USL-1 has lost five teams to the new league, leaving only Augstin, Cleveland, Puerto Rico, Portland and Rochester as the holdovers from 2009. There is expected to be a USL=1 expansion team in New York. Portland will leave for Major League Soccer in 2011.

The USL First Division lost its sixth team following the announcement that the Charleston Battery, a USL member since 1993 with two championships to its name, will to play in the USL Second Division (third level) in 2010.

Earlier the USL-1 lost five 2009 teams to the proposed new North American Soccer League (NASL) — champion Montreal, Vancouver, Miami FC, Carolina and Minnesota. In addition, expansion Tampa Bay joined the NASL.

“We believe that the level of competition in USL-2 will be very similar to that in USL-1 and we expect to field a very exciting and competitive team,” said Battery President Andrew Bell, to Soccer America. “We also look forward to renewing old rivalries with Richmond and Charlotte. Playing in this division will also substantially reduce our travel costs as we won’t be flying all over the country.”

Charleston was the only USL-1 team that was not part of the Team Owners Association (TOA), formed in 2008 to address issues with USL management and now looking to form the NASL.

“The Charleston Battery has never been a part of TOA,” said Charleston Battery CEO Tony Bakker, in the Soccer America article. “not because we disagreed with some of the legitimate complaints they had about how USL1 operated in the past, but because we totally disagreed with their stated vision to be a viable alternative league to Major League Soccer (MLS) and to compete with MLS on and off the field. This made absolutely no sense to us.”

The Battery will play a 20-game regular season schedule beginning mid-April. It will once again host its preseason tournament the Carolina Challenge Cup featuring Major League Soccer teams in March and will also enter the U.S. Open Cup, in which it finished second in 2008.

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