Atlanta United groups take CCC by storm

When Atlanta was announced in 2014 as part of the next wave of expansion teams for Major League Soccer, a sleeping giant awoke. Now, two years later, Atlanta United are on the eve of their first season as a club. To prepare for their first season in the league, Atlanta are part of the 2017 edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup, and their fans are showing exactly why there are such high hopes for one of the newest teams in America’s top flight.

We spent time at the Atlanta fans’ tailgate, which comprised of the club’s four fan clubs, Terminus Legion, Resurgence, The Faction and Footie Mob. According to Terminus member Gail Carr, the groups had filled up three hotels in the local area, by far being the most represented of the three MLS sides at the tournament.

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Fresh off of a 4-0 win in their first ever match against Chattanooga FC, the atmosphere was electric, and the anticipation (and perhaps the expectation) was high. There was food, as well as merch booths for fans to purchase Atlanta United products, and of course, a stereo blasting music by Atlanta based music artists.

After 30 to 45 minutes at the tailgate, which also had a mingling of hosts, The Regiment, and the travelling Columbia branch of the American Outlaws, the time came for Atlanta’s first ever “competitive” match. After all, it was pre-season, but there was still silverware on the line. The party continued in the stands, with the drumline for the Atlanta faithful leading as they turned songs by Atlanta rapper Ludacris into Football chants.

ATL UTD boss Tata Martino had apparently gotten the silverware memo, putting Atlanta’s first choice team out, and thus treating the match as if it were a competitive fixture.

Atlanta started well. They set a high press and the defense was solid. All this was made easier by the fact that Chris McCann picked off a ball in midfield, passing to Josef Martinez, who laid off the ball before receiving it again on a diving header that put Atlanta ahead against the Columbus Crew in the sixth minute. Columbus came into the match more as time went on, but Atlanta went in at half time with their 1-0 lead still in tact. The midfield was definitely running things, with Chris McCann being a great anchor in front of the back four, and Miguel Almiron being at the center of everything.

The heads dropped a little and legs certainly got tired when Alec Kann fluffed a clearance which hit Federico Higuaín on the leg and bounced in, but the fans weren’t going to stop singing. You could hear them from minute one until the final whistle, as they certainly gave a good account of what’s to come as they enter the league ahead of the new season.

Though their team ended up losing on the night, Atlanta’s fans certainly enjoyed themselves, and gave fans in Charleston a taste of what’ll be on offer at Bobby Dodd stadium, and will be at Mercedes Benz Stadium come summertime, which will only help the matchday experience.

TOP IMAGE: ATLANTA UNITED AND BATTERY FANS MINGLE BEFORE THE CAROLINA CHALLENGE CUP BEGAN ON SATURDAY NIGHT. PHOTO CREDIT NICKI ACE 

 

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First Battery fixtures set as USL unveil home opener schedule

USL have gone a short ways to lift the lid on the 2017 season, announcing the league’s full slate of home openers for the new campaign on Friday evening.

The Battery will welcome FC Cincinnati to MUSC Health Stadium on March 25th. We’ll kick off 2017, our 25th season,  as we did 2016, when we played Cincy in their first ever USL match. The two sides also met in the playoffs last season, in what ended up being a dramatic win for the Black and Yellow.

The Battery also know the date of a second fixture, as they travel to Charlotte on the first of April. The sides compete in the Southern Derby Cup, which the Battery took home last season.

The full schedule, at time of writing, still hasn’t been released, though it’s nice for team and fans alike to have some insight on how the season will begin. There are less than two months to go until the season begins, and less than a month until the 2017 edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup.

Be sure to check back here for updates as we continue into the home stretch until the new season.

 

The Regiment Rolls Out the Welcome Wagon

A/N While the Battery’s high profile friendly with Rangers FC of Scotland isn’t until next week, players have arrived to get acclimatized, with fans not too far behind. With that in mind, The Regiment thought it best to give our guests some tips on how to enjoy Charleston to the fullest, highlighting some go-to spots in the Holy City.

Welcome to Charleston!

No honestly, we are glad to have you. We take hospitality seriously down here in the South, especially here in Charleston. We have a long tradition over the years of hosting visiting supporters at our tailgates and hope you can join us. We are in the minds that we can all drink and share some food before and after the match, with a 90-minute break to support our clubs. Our tailgate starts around 5:30 and we hope you will stop by, say hi and grab a quick bite and drink.

For the Rangers match, we will be serving up our famous Regiment pork tenderloin, chicken, hot dogs and some sausage bites. We also will be serving a lowcountry favorite, Frogmore stew (also known as a lowcountry boil.) Don’t worry, there aren’t any frogs in it! It’s a boil consisting of potatoes, corn, sausage and shrimp. Typically dumped in the middle of the table and meant to be shared by all with a cold beer or two.

The Charleston Battery are one of the oldest continuously run clubs in US soccer. The name gives a nod to the military history of Charleston, known for the battery of cannons that protected the harbor. The Battery started 1993, three years before MLS and a year before the US hosted the 1994 World Cup. The Battery have won four championships and in 1999 was the first to build a professional Soccer Specific Stadium. Over the years, the stadium has hosted teams West Brom, Bolton, Portsmouth and Sunderland as well as most MLS teams.

We hope you enjoy the match and get a chance to explore our city. You’ll find plenty to do around the “Holy City” but like any stranger in a new town, it can be a bit daunting to figure out what to see, where to go and where to eat and drink. With that in mind we put together a little cheat sheet of our favorite Charleston bits.

 

Where to go:

Charleston has a long history. Surviving the Revolutionary and Civil Wars, earthquakes, fires and hurricanes. Some highlights we recommend are: Start with a carriage ride, it gives you a good sense of history and places to see, head to the Market and pick up some local art or a sweetgrass basket. A stroll along Waterfront Park down to White Point Garden (commonly known as the Battery) and take in the historic homes and architecture. If you have more time go to the first museum in the US at Charleston Museum. Catch the boat to Ft. Sumter where the first shots of the Civil War began. Kids always love the South Carolina Aquarium and the USS Yorktown is a popular spot too. If you have a couple days, head to one of the plantations, find the Angel Oak, and go to one of the beaches. http://www.charlestoncvb.com/plan-your-trip/tours-attractions~204/

Where to Eat:

Charleston is a great food town, from swank nationally acclaimed restaurants to hole in the wall soul food joints. There are so many choices it’s tough to name just a few so here’s a link to a local guide to eating. http://charleston.eater.com/2016/6/29/11880156/charleston-city-guide-where-to-eat Our favorites: The Codfather, Battery fan and Brit, Adam Randal’s new fish and chip shop is getting rave reviews and well deserved. Tattoo Moose for a duck club sandwich and duck fat fries. BBQ at Bessingers, Swig and Swine or Lewis’ if you can get in. Martha Lou’s for the best fried chicken and soul food ever.

Where to Drink:

Charleston has a long tradition of drinking! You won’t have any problem finding nightlife to suit your taste. Start with a tour of one of the many local breweries. Three of them have paired with the Battery to produce Battery themed beers. Frothy Beard, Holy City and Oak Street breweries. Holy City also makes an award winning porter called Pluff Mud Porter and a personal favorite. Check out the list here: www.holycitysinner.com/2014/07/09/breweries-distilleries-in-charleston/

After, head out for some nightlife. Here is a list of the 33 hottest bars in the area right now. http://charleston.eater.com/maps/best-bars-cocktails-beer-wine-charleston Our recommendation is Madra Rua Irish pub, The Sparrow, The Mill, Local 616, The Tin Roof, The Recovery Room, AC’s Bar and Grill, and the Griffin. Our selection is more the dive bar live music type spot but you can find some excellent cocktail bars and dance clubs too. Check out the list. You will also notice there are a lot of bars along King Street downtown. If you can only get to one area, this will give you the biggest selection all within walking (or stumbling) distance

The Regiment interview with Eric Bowman: Part Two

A/N In the second part of the Supporters’ Club interview with Eric Bowman, we take a look at some of the changes already happening, and in place to take the Battery forward on and off the pitch.

In the second part of our article, we recap the meeting with members of three main supporter’s groups; La Barra, Queen Anne’s Revenge and The Regiment with Eric Bowman, owner, Andrew Bell, president, and Suzanne Brandon of the Charleston Battery. Read the Q&A with Eric Bowman on Black and Yellow Post here.

When Eric Bowman took over ownership of the Charleston Battery in February, it didn’t take long for news to come out about huge video board that would be installed at MUSC Health Stadium. Other upgrades were announced; an upgrade to the stadium WiFi and a new audio system was installed.

But the upgrades didn’t stop there. A complete overhaul of the front office was completed shortly before the season began. New ticketing software and point of sale systems were implemented. New flat screen TVs were put in the pub. All the bathrooms were cleaned and repainted. Water fountains are being repaired. Nearly every aspect of the stadium that you can see is being touched in some way.

Some of the things happening aren’t so obvious to the casual fan. As Bowman leads representatives of the supporter clubs through the locker rooms, he shows us more improvements being made. It’s likely most won’t see the modernized locker rooms, but the players will certainly appreciate the update. There is now a more efficient and time saving program for contacting the Battery’s contact list too.

Work is being done behind the scenes in the pub too. Improvements to the menu and expanding its hours are being explored.

Perhaps the biggest changes to come is the utilization of the giant video board (unofficially nick-named “Broadside”) Using a video streaming app call Stre.am will allow fans to broadcast their unique view and perspective of the match for others to see. Imagine seeing the tailgate and march into the stadium on the big screen, encourage others to get involved. Eventually Bowman hopes to have an in-game app which will allow fans to vote on their man of the match and be able to see real time results in a bar graph on the screen.

There is to be a summer movie series starting this week. And Bowman mentioned that they were looking to attract high-level tournaments and other events to the stadium in the off season. They worked quickly to move the kick off forward to facilitate fans being able to watch the US v. Paraguay Copa 2016 match. Bowman also said they got a game console connected to the screen for FIFA play while joking about needing a 300 foot HDMI cable.

But some of the changes met with mixed reviews. The removal the playground being one. But Bowman described the rusty metal pipes and potential safety issues to the 18-year old structure, it had to go. There are ideas to bring back a play area of some sorts aimed at younger kids but also an area for pre-teens too.

The increase in season tickets was a shock for many. But Bowman was very open with the finances and comparing to many other USL markets, and so it was easier to accept the price increase excepted. The ticket prices are on par with them and the increase were necessary for the future of the club.

These are the building blocks of looking forward. Much like building a house, you have to have a solid foundation. The improvement will help solidify the efforts Tony Bakker started in 1993 and advanced in 1999 with the building of the stadium. Once those building blocks are in place, other advance can be made to help realize Eric Bowman’s vision of making Charleston a MLS city.

Obviously those changes take time but perhaps the most exciting thing isn’t the endgame of MLS, it is an owner that is ambitious and has a long term plan for the club. One that will extend the Battery’s legacy of one of the longest continuous professional clubs in the United States.

The Regiment Interview with Eric Bowman: Part One

A/N Battery owner Eric Bowman took time to sit down with the Official Supporters’ Club, The Regiment, earlier this week, and was kind enough to give some insight into things that have gone on on and off the pitch so far this year.

In a two-part series with new Battery owner Eric Bowman, we take a look at the some of the changes happening, some very noticeable and some not so noticeable. In this first part, we ask Eric a few questions and find out a bit about his vision for the Charleston Battery. In the second part, we’ll discuss those changes more in-depth.

 

When the sale of the Charleston Battery was announced in February, it came as a shock to some long-time fans. Tony Bakker help start the club in 1993. Before the 1994 World Cup, before MLS began in 1996. In 1999, Tony build the first privately-funded Soccer Specific Stadium. The Battery has a long legacy, with four championships, a US Open Cup final appearance and a passionate fan base.

But anytime there is change, people react differently and the sale was no different: excitement, trepidation, uncertainty, speculation. Rumors about the club’s direction and future started. Eric Bowman was gracious enough to answer some those concerns and met with a group of supporters from the Regiment, Queen Anne’s Revenge, and La Barra this week and we were shown that a lot is going on, both the obvious and behind the scenes and the club is heading in an exciting direction.

 

When did you first get into soccer and how?

I played growing up and always had an appreciation for the sport. Now I have kids who play, so I’m around the game constantly. Obviously it’s a big part of my life both personally and professionally, but I started out as a fan of soccer and my role with the Battery doesn’t change that.

I know you have been a huge sponsor of the Battery for the last three years, what prompted you to buy the Battery?

When you look at the Battery and see the history and sustained success of the team on and off the field, then realize that the Club has reached such a level based on the vision of an amazing entrepreneur from 20+ years ago, you have to see potential. I respect what the previous ownership did for the fans and the community, but we’re excited to take the Club and the stadium to new places and break the mold of the status quo a little bit. With the capabilities and resources we have at B Sports, we are working to turn MUSC Health Stadium into one of the most intimate soccer venues in the country; and I think we can do that and still respect the established traditions of the Club.

What do you foresee in the Battery’s future and soccer in America?

We want to take the Battery as high as we can and we won’t put a limit on the possibilities. The long ­term goal is to turn Charleston into an MLS city. Obviously that’s a long way off, but we think it’s attainable. There’s talk of MLS expanding to Saint Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio etc. so the jump from USL to MLS is within our reach. If MLS wants to be in a particular market, the League will find a way to make it happen. Our job is to turn Charleston into a market that MLS wants to expand to. If we can leverage the sport’s growing popularity nationally and the dedicated local fan base that’s been here from the start with the improvements we’re making on the field and in the stadium, we’ll get there.

The score board is great; can we expect more improvements around the stadium?

The video board gives us the ability to interact with fans like we never have before. We’re changing the in­-stadium experience and making it more interactive. We want to make fans a part of the team’s matches, instead of simply being spectators. The jumbotron gives us the ability to bring the fans closer to the players, coaches, front office staff and each other. It provides fans with an accessible feedback loop, which will help us improve the overall experience. When we have things fully integrated, fans will be able to order food from their seats, request what they want to see and hear in the stadium while at the game, and Stre.am live from their seats to the video board. We’re also revamping the Pub and working on plans to bring entertainment for young kids and young adults to the stadium on game days. This will likely not be done until next season.

Many expected a rise in cost of season and game day tickets. Can you explain some of the process of coming to that decision?

We’ve changed almost every aspect of what we do behind the scenes to put a product on the field on game day, so that’s going to lead to changes elsewhere. The front office understands that after 23 years with the previous ownership, the changes may be a bit shocking at first, but the increases are consistent with the improvements we’re making at the Club.

Any final words for the fans and supporters?

We’re appreciative of the support and want to continue to grow the Club together. The fans have been and will continue to be a huge part of what we’re doing and we need your help to reach the goals we’ve set. The existing fan base is incredibly loyal, we want to harness that passion and spread it as the Club expands and gains recognition nationally.

 

 

 

 

On the Southern Derby Cup

In this week’s article, Regiment correspondent Mike Buytas joins us to give us all a history lesson on the Southern Derby Cup, a near 17-year old battle for supremacy between the USL’s southern clubs not only for points, but for bragging rights as well.

Nearly 17 years ago, a group a fans on the now defunct USLdiscussion discussion forum came up with an idea to help promote local rivalries and to encourage fans to travel to away games. Before long, a name was chosen and a trophy was purchased. And so the Southern Derby Cup began.

The initial cup pitted the Raleigh Capital Express, Charleston Battery and Atlanta Silverbacks in 2000 using a home and away format. The winner of that initial competition: Raleigh Capital Express.

Over the years, teams have come and gone.  Seven in fact; the Raleigh Express, Carolina Railhawks, Charlotte Eagles, Charlotte Independence, Atlanta Silverbacks, Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads.  Raleigh disappeared into the history books like so many lower division clubs.  Other teams no longer participate due to realignment and shifts in leagues and divisions but the Charlotte Independence, Charleston Battery and Wilmington Hammerheads still battle today.

Saturday’s matchup of this fan created and fan organized contest between the Charleston Battery and the Wilmington Hammerheads will be the first of six matches to crown the 2016 Southern Derby Cup Champion. Charlotte will get in the action the following week as they host the Battery.

The 2016 dates for Southern Derby Cup selected by leaders of the supporters groups for each team have agreed to the following dates to count toward the Southern Derby Cup competition.

Date

Home

Away

Sat April 9

Charleston

Wilmington

Sat April 16

Charlotte

Charleston

Wed May 11

Wilmington

Charlotte

Sat Aug 13

Charlotte

Wilmington

Sat Aug 20

Wilmington

Charleston

Sat Aug 27

Charleston

Charlotte

 

The rules are pretty standard:  Each team plays one another twice, once at home and once away.  In years where the schedule is unbalanced, the fans usually picked the last home and away match within the season. Teams get three points for win, one for a draw, zero points for a loss.  In the case that there are two or more teams on the same points at the end of the year, the following tie breakers are used:

  • Goal difference in all the Derby matches.
  • Greater number of goals scored in all Derby matches.
  • Greater number of points obtained in all Derby matches between the teams concerned.
  • Goal difference resulting from all Derby matches between the teams concerned.
  • Greater number of goals scored in all the Derby matches between the teams concerned.

Below are the past winners of the Southern Derby Cup

  • 2000: Raleigh Capital Express
  • 2001: Charlotte Eagles
  • 2002: Atlanta Silverbacks
  • 2003: Charleston Battery
  • 2004: Atlanta Silverbacks
  • 2005:  Charleston Battery and Atlanta Silverbacks (co-champions)
  • 2006: Atlanta Silverbacks
  • 2007: Carolina Railhawks
  • 2008: Carolina Railhawks
  • 2009: Carolina Railhawks and Charleston Battery (co-champions)
  • 2010: Charleston Battery
  • 2011: Charleston Battery
  • 2012: Charlotte Eagles
  • 2013 Charlotte Eagles
  • 2014 Wilmington Hammerheads
  • 2015 Charleston Battery

 

Road Warriors: Three rules for Regiment away days.

A/N: Regiment Prez Mike Buytas is back for another Regiment update. This time he highlights the importance of the fans’ presence on their travels as well as at Home.

As the Battery head to their first away match of the season, it isn’t uncommon to see Battery fans sporting black and yellow wherever they are playing. Not a surprising fact given the Battery’s long history. Often these fans are friends or family of players. Some have connected to the Battery one way or another. Others have lived in Charleston for one reason or another and fell in love with Battery.

But there are a few diehards that travel to away matches as often as possible.

The Regiment tries to facilitate these fans as much as possible, either coordinating group tickets, car pools and caravans to organizing charter buses (look for details on our annual bus trip soon!) And similar to the way the way the Regiment extends an invitation to join their tailgates to visiting fans, often the rival supporters group so the same.

Road trips to these matches offer a chance to experience your team in a different environment and make some new friends. Maybe trade a scarf or partake in a local beer. And without a doubt, the players certainly appreciate the support away from home.

This Friday the Battery’s travels will take them to the outskirts of Orlando and Melbourne Florida where they will take on Orlando City B. If you’re making the trip down here are a couple pointers:

  1. Always be Classy Battery fans have a good reputation around the league. We are from the friendliest city in America after all! Let’s keep it that way!
  2. Tailgate Tailgating is a great way of meeting the opposing fans and having a good time. Take some swag to trade!
  3. Get in Touch With the Regiment that is. We have a very good relationship with our front office and chance are we can help with discounted tickets and let you know about others going down and any tailgates or events to check out. Message us on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/Regiment843/ twitter @TheRegiment2 or via our website www.regiment843.com
Remember you can visit The Regiment’s Facebook page by clicking the link on our site