Tuesday, November 23, 2010

USL Wraps up Annual General Meeting

The USL wrapped up the Annual General Meeting down in Tampa, Florida this past weekend.  The Battery twitted that a tentative schedule has been made and to expect an exciting season.  Several other tidbits of information came out of the meetings via the USL Press Release .

First it looks like there will be 16 teams in USL Pro.  Officially USL has only announced 13 of those teams; Antigua Barracuda FC, Charlotte Eagles, Charleston Battery, Dayton Dutch Lions, FC New York, Harrisburg City Islanders, Orlando City SC (formally Austin Aztex) , Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, River Plate Puerto Rico, Rochester Rhinos, Sevilla FC Puerto Rico , and Wilmington Hammerheads.  But rumors on the www.bigsoccer.com point to another team from Puerto Rico joining, Puerto Rico United.

the other two team aren't as clear but the signs point to two new expansion teams.  Ft. Lauderdale in Florida and Pali Blues in LA, California.  Ft. Lauderdale is rumored to actually be the Haitian national team.  The natural disasters the island country has suffered over the last couple years has left no infrastructure for the players or organized soccer.

The Pali Blues rumor comes from a blog posted a month or so ago by someone in the organization claiming they were to be the new coach of the expansion team.  If they are indeed one of the three remaining teams,  it opens up the issues of travel from one side of the country to the other.  Hopefully the team can afford the travel.

The regions and schedules will be released in December according to the press release.

The release tells us that there will be 24 regular season matches, four more than last season for Battery fans.  Playoffs format will also be released in December.

There was also representation from several possible expansion teams at the meetings.   Look for a 20-24 team league in 2012 with interest coming from the Mid-west and West coast.

Well pass along the details as we get them.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Wilmington Returns!

Official announcement from the USL!

Hammerheads return to Wilmington

Looks like the Southern Derby Cup just got alot more interesting!

Congradualtions to Wilmington and there fans.

The Teams are Set, Now Book Your Vacation!

The Charleston Battery announced the details of the 2011 Carolina Challenge Cup today.  The eighth year of the tournament will begin Saturday, March 5, and continue Wednesday March 9 and culminating on March 12.  DC United, Toronto FC and the Chicago Fire will spend the week in Charleston finalizing their preparation for the 2011 MLS season.

The tournament is becoming a  preseason stable for many teams and the Battery have once again had request from multiple MLS teams to join the tournament.

Toronto FC will return for a fifth year and look to be bringing a sizable supporter contingent once again.

It will be Chicago Fire's first trip to Charleston.  The Battery defeated Chicago last year in the US Open Cup sending them out of the tournament.

DC United will return as defending champions of last year tournament winner.  Along with the competing for the Carolina Challenge Cup, DC and Charleston will fight for the the Coffee Pot Cup.

DC United supporters drinking beer out of the Coffee Pot Cup
The Coffee Pot Cup began after an incident following DC United shocking 1999 loss to Charleston in the US Open Cup, DC United players vented their frustration on the locker room of the then new Blackbaud Stadium, destroying, among other things, a coffee pot.  A few years later, supporters of both sides decided to have an actual Coffee Pot played for between the sides as a friendly wager. The winner has the other team's supporters fill the Cup with beer for the winning team's supporters to enjoy.  

The week long tournament is becoming a large draw for supporters looking to have a good time and cast off the cobwebs of a long off season.  Many travel to spend the entire week at the tournament, renting beach houses at a fraction of the individual cost for hotels. 

The week is punctuated with several events outside the matches.  The Battery supporters group, the Regiment, host tailgates for all the visiting fans, with plenty of food and libations.  The last two years, the Happy Hooligan's pub crawl have been a success.  Dozens of supporters from the teams involved enjoy a night out in downtown Charleston.  Look for more information closer to the tournament dates.
Please leave a comment if anyone needs help planning a trip to Charleston.  There are tons of options for just about anyone.

Monday, November 8, 2010

2011 USL Player Combine at Blackbaud Stadium once again

The USL has once again chosen the Charleston Battery and Blackbaud stadium to host the 5th annual USL Player Combine between January 20-23.

Over the last couple years, No Quarter has watched a few of the training sessions and matches.  While most players are looking to catch the eye of several coaches and team representatives that attend,  we just like to go to see some future stars and see who is there looking at the potential talent.

A couple years ago, Tommy Heinemann it was at the combine that he attracted the attention of the Battery.  Heinemann had a very successful 2010 season with the Battery, being named co-MVP of the 2010 USL2 Champions match and with the Carolina Railhawks, scoring six goals in just 12, including a vital last-minute goal that knocked the Montreal Impact out of the playoffs.

For more information on the USL Player Combine and how to apply, please read the Press Release.

No Quarter plans on bringing a report from the combine and hopefully some insight to the players, coaches and representatives attending.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Wilmington Likely to Return!

Looks like Charleston will pick up another local rival and competitor for the Southern Derby Cup for the 2011 USL Pro season.

Reports from both WECT TV and Wilmington Star News are saying that the Wilmington Hammerheads will likely return in 2011. 

Official word is likely to come out later this month,  in No Quarter's opinion, most likely before or during the USL Pro league meetings which are schedule for around November 18. 

The club also looks like it will retain the Hammerheads name and will retain its logo and color scheme.

Wilmington historically has been a tough team, qualifying for the playoffs 9 out of 13 years of their existence, winning the 2003 USL D3 championship and averaging close to 3000 fans a match.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The 2011 Carolina Challenge Cup

The Charleston Battery facebook page hinted that "an exciting announcement" about the 2011 Carolina Challenge Cup should be out by the end of this week.   If it is the announcement of the teams involved it would make it the earliest the week long tournament has been announced, allowing more time for visiting supporters to schedule and plan for a great week of soccer.

 If the timing is consistent with past Carolina Challenge Cups with the the tourney finishing the weekend prior to MLS's season kickoff on March 19, the CCC should be the week of March 5 to March 12.

So who might the Battery face during the 8th year of this fantastic preseason tournament?  Historically, the winner of the tourney gets a return invite.  DC United won the 2010 CCC but we haven't heard anything about the team's preseason commitments for 2011. 

The only two teams that look like they have conflicting schedules are Real Salt Lake and the Columbus Crew, both which are competing in the CONCACAF Champion's League Quarterfinals on March 3 and 17.
So perhaps a better question would be is; who would the fans want to see?

There are two new expansion teams for MLS in 2011, both teams that Battery competed against in USL1, the Vancouver Whitecaps and the Portland Timbers.  The Seattle Sounders also fit that bill and have former Battery standout, Osolvo Alsono on their roster.

The Red Bulls would bring with them a couple well known players in Thierry Henry and Juan Pablo Angel.

Maybe a rematch of the 2004 and 2010 US Open Cup opponents, the Chicago Fire?

The LA Galaxy with US Men's National team star, Landon Donovan and David Beckham have to be outside bets as I understand they typically require large amounts of money for appearance fees.

Outside of the actual matches, expect some supporter socializing after a long off-season with The Regiment hosting some great tailgates and what will be the third annual Happy Hooligan's pub crawl.

Regardless, it should be a great time with the chance to see some great soccer at the 'Baud and look to No Quarter to bring you a run down once the teams are announced!