VANCOUVER, BC – Major League Soccer club Vancouver Whitecaps FC and USL PRO club Charleston Battery announced today an initial one-year partnership that will make the Battery the official USL PRO affiliate of Whitecaps FC.
“The Battery are a well-respected club with a tradition of success on and off the pitch," said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi. "We have a long-standing relationship with the Battery's president Andrew Bell, dating back to our days in the USL First Division, and we are excited to formalize an official partnership. This affiliation will greatly benefit the development of our younger players by providing an opportunity for them receive more minutes in a professional environment and as a result it will help with player transition from our Residency and U-23 programs into the first team.”
Whitecaps FC will loan a minimum of four players from their MLS roster to the South Carolina outfit during the course of the 2014 USL PRO season. As a result, the ‘Caps will not participate in the MLS Reserve League in 2014.
In addition to the player benefits, Whitecaps FC and Battery will share best practices on and off the field including technical coordination and strategic initiatives.
"We are very excited about the potential that this brings," added Charleston Battery president Andrew Bell. "We’ve been working on the details for some time now and it’s great to finally formalize the partnership. Vancouver Whitecaps FC are an ambitious and forward-thinking club and it’s been refreshing to note all the synergies between our organizations. We are looking forward to working with them closely and hopefully contributing to their future success."
Founded in 1993, the Battery have become one of the most successful lower division clubs in the United States. They have won a total of four league titles, most recently in 2012 when they claimed the USL PRO Championship. Also of note, the Battery advanced to the U.S. Open Cup final in 2008 – the only lower-division club to achieve that feat since 1999.
Managed by former player Michael Anhaeuser, who was recently inducted into the USL Hall of Fame, the Battery finished third in USL PRO last season before falling to Orlando City in the semifinals. Whitecaps FC midfielder Bryce Alderson, as well as U-23 midfielder Ben Fisk, and U-23 fullback Emmanuel Adjetey each spent time on loan with the Battery last season.
Based in Charleston, South Carolina, the Battery play their home matches at Blackbaud Stadium – a 5,113-seat soccer-specific venue. Whitecaps FC are the 10th team to form an affiliate partnership with a USL PRO club – the two leagues entered a multi-year affiliation in 2012. USL PRO is the third tier of the United States soccer pyramid. Thirteen teams will play in the league in 2014.
Fans will have the opportunity to watch every single Battery match this season, as it was recently announced that USL PRO will stream all 2014 matches free on YouTube through individual team channels.
Whitecaps FC begin their 2014 MLS season on March 8 versus New York Red Bulls at BC Place. Season tickets start at just $349, subject to applicable fees. The 'Caps also offer a flexible range of ticket products, including half-season tickets ($244), 5-packs ($149), student season tickets ($199), and a youth soccer half-season ticket ($100). For more information on all Whitecaps FC ticket options, call 604.669.9283 ext. 2 or visit whitecapsfc.com/tickets.