As I am standing on the field after the Charleston Battery’s last regular season match of the 2015 season, thousands of fans are rushing the pitch to talk to their favorite players, get autographs, and find their own little spot of grass to watch the post-game firework; the historic moments from this season are running through my thoughts.
We started off the year back in February with the Carolina Challenge Cup which included two new MLS expansion teams New York City FC and Orlando City SC in addition to the Houston Dynamo and our Charleston Battery. The CCC was a great kick-off of the season with international stars (Kaka and David Villa) and US national team players (DaMarcus Beasley, Brek Shea, and Mix Diskerud) playing on our pitch in-front of sold out crowds.
The Battery then catapulted into the regular season starting with a 5-0-2 record before experiencing their first loss at FC Montreal. Their outstanding play extended in to the US open cup where we won our first 2 matches and then eventually losing to Orlando City SC in pentalty kicks, however taking the MLS side to a 4-4 draw through regulation and overtime was a feat in its own.
As if having MLS teams coming to Charleston was not enough, it was announced that West Bromwich Albion from the English Premier League, was coming to town to play an exhibition match against our Charleston Battery on July 17th. The West Brom match was played in front of another sold out crowd and all around was just an amazing event.
July 30, 2015, the Charleston Battery and MUSC Health announced the re-naming of Blackbaud Stadium to MUSC Health Stadium, which was then unveiled at a tough 0-0 draw against FC Montreal on August 1st.
So over halfway through the season, the Battery announced a new stadium name, MUSC Health Stadium, has played MLS teams, an EPL team, and is fighting for one of the top 3 places in the eastern conference of the USL. As we enter our last regular season home match, our fate and playoff position is in our own hands, a win means we finish 3rd and host a first round home playoff match.
The Historic Moments Continue:
In front of a crown of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium, the Charleston Battery go into the locker room up 1-0 over the Charlotte Independence at halftime. At the start of the second half, in the 48th minute, Dane Kelley struck a phenomenal volley, scoring what eventually will be the winning goal of the match. This was Dane’s 42nd career goal in the USL, putting him at the top of the all-time USL leader board.
The Attendance of 4,543 at MUSC Health Stadium broke the season average home attendance record for the Battery, setting the new record at MUSC Health Stadium to be 4,079 beating the previous record of 3,991, set in 2008.
The WIN, in front of this monumental crowd: increased the Battery’s home unbeaten streak to 24 matches at MUSC Health Stadium; claimed the 2015 Southern Derby Cup; Solidified our third place regular season finish including hosting a first round home playoff game.
This was my eighth season working with the Charleston Battery as their team Physical Therapist and coordinating all of their sports medicine needs. With everything that has happened this year, it was definitely a historic season, and one that I will never forget.
However the season is not over yet, there is one more historic feat that needs to be achieved to truly top off this historic season. The Charleston Battery will start their playoff run, hosting the Richmond Kickers on September 26, 2015 at MUSC Health Stadium; you are not going to want to miss this match!