The Charleston Battery, the oldest continuously run professional soccer club in the United States, entered a new era on Wednesday as the sale of the USL Championship team to HCFC, LLC was officially announced.
The Club also announced it will commence play at Ralph Lundy Field at Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Mount Pleasant starting next season.
“This partnership with the Charleston Battery is a win-win for the College of Charleston,” said College of Charleston Director of Athletics Matt Roberts. “It will not only enhance our coaches’ and student-athletes’ overall experience by exposing them to a professional team and a professional environment, but it will be a boon for our greater community, as residents of the Town of Mount Pleasant will be given an even greater opportunity to see and cheer on top-level soccer competition.”
While more details on the club’s move will be provided in the coming weeks, HCFC is committed to ensuring the new venue is both fan-and family-friendly, while also allowing for the type of intense, raucous atmospheres seen throughout the USL Championship.
“The Battery are an indelible part of the Charleston community,” said Rob Salvatore, who will lead the club’s new ownership. “As one of the most historic professional soccer organizations in the United States, this club has brought people throughout the Lowcountry together for decades. As ownership and custodians of the club, we will honor and respect that history while bringing new energy, experience and resources to grow the club’s connection to the community both on-and-off the field.”
With the ownership change, HCFC takes control of one the United States’ most successful Second Division soccer clubs. The Battery have previously won league titles in 1996, 2003, 2010 and 2012, and in 2008 were the most recent lower-division club to reach the final of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. In addition, the club has qualified for postseason play in 12 consecutive seasons, while winning the Southern Derby in four of the last five.
“This new venture between the College of Charleston and the Charleston Battery is a tremendous collaboration that will benefit the Town of Mount Pleasant, the College and soccer fans in the metro-Charleston area,” said College of Charleston President Andrew T. Hsu. “By moving the Battery closer to College facilities – which are closer to downtown – more families, young professionals and students will be able to take in professional soccer matches. The College of Charleston is happy to play a role, a small one at that, in this next chapter of the Battery’s story.”
Over the coming the months, Salvatore will embark on a series of community listening sessions with the primary focus of gaining valuable feedback from the community on how the club can further bind itself to the city it represents. More information on those sessions will be made public in the coming weeks.
“Our guiding light has and will continue to be our supporters and engaging the community in order to return the club to relevance,” continued Salvatore. “We want to empower an inclusive and diverse supporters’ culture that resonates on both local and national levels. A concerted and fresh approach to how we engage the community, coupled with the changes we envision at Patriots Point will help facilitate that.
“We may own the team, but it belongs to Charleston. It is paramount that we earn and keep the community’s trust. That starts by listening and being transparent.”