The Charleston Battery, an American professional soccer club based in Charleston, played their last game on Daniel Island on Oct. 19. Eleven days later, on Oct. 30, the club announced the sale of the United Soccer League (USL) Championship team to HCFC, LLC.
“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.”
Under Salvatore’s leadership, the Battery also announced it will play at the College of Charleston’s Patriots Point Soccer Complex in Mount Pleasant starting next season. 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, according to a press release issued by the new owners.
“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 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.”
“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.”
With the ownership change, HCFC takes control of one the country’s 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.
“We are absolutely thrilled to welcome Rob, his family and the entire HCFC ownership group to the USL Championship,” said USL president, and former Battery player, Jake Edwards. “Our league is experiencing a tremendous period of growth, and as someone who has had the privilege of playing for the club, I know firsthand how wonderful the Charleston community is and how important they are to the future of the USL Championship. Under Rob’s leadership, we believe the future of professional soccer in Charleston is incredibly bright.”
Salvatore said, “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.”
The soccer stadium — originally named Blackbaud Stadium after the software company founded by then Battery majority owner Tony Bakker — opened in 1999 on Daniel Island. In 2015, the Battery sold naming rights for the stadium to the Medical University of South Carolina through 2019, and it became MUSC Health Stadium.
In May 2019, the stadium was sold to an affiliate of Atlanta-based Holder Properties Inc for $6.475M. The Charleston Battery played its final game at the stadium on October 19.
Although the timeline is uncertain, the stadium will be demolished to make way for commercial redevelopment. (Credit: Daniel Island News)
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