Guest Post by:
The start of the Carolina Challenge Cup on February 21st, marks the return of Major League Soccer to Charleston. This will be my 8th season providing sports medicine services for the Charleston Battery, and I cannot remember a Challenge Cup having so much pre-tournament hype. We have been talking about the CCC for months, since it was announced that international superstars Kaka` and David Villa were coming to play for the new MLS expansion teams Orlando City SC and New York City FC respectively. The Houston Dynamo is returning to Charleston again this year to round out the field with their new USL PRO affiliation, the Charleston Battery.
I know everyone is excited to see the international players compete against our local team. Personally, I am just excited to see some outstanding soccer being played by some of the greatest players in the world and I am not just talking about Kaka` and David Villa. The Challenge Cup this year will also bring US National Team players Brek Shea, Mix Diskerud, and DaMarcus Beasley to Charleston. What an outstanding combination of international and US National Team stars for the Charleston Battery to play against and for the local soccer community to enjoy watching and cheering for.
For one of these players, it is not the first time he has been to Charleston to play at Blackbaud Stadium. For those of your who have been a soccer fan in Charleston for a long time, you may remember the College of Charleston playing a friendly against the U-17 US National Team in a pre-season match in 1999; DeMarcus Beasley was a member of that team.
DeMarcus Beasley had an outstanding game that day scoring an early second half hat trick; unfortunately I remember that game all too well, as I was the goalkeeper for the Cougars in the second half, who was repetitively picking up the ball out of the back of the net that game. Beasley went on to having an exemplary professional and international career, and I learned a very valuable lesson in goal. As one of my former goalkeeper coaches used to tell me, “a lesson in goalkeeping is a lesson in life.” That game definitely taught me, that even though I had more years left in my playing career, I needed to have other options for the future as well. I chose coaching soccer and Sports Medicine, which is why working with the Battery has been a perfect fit for me. I am excited to see Beasley step back on the pitch in Charleston; and to be honest, I am even happier that I am not playing against him this time.
If you enjoyed watching the World Cup last summer or are just a local sports fan, come out to the Carolina Challenge Cup on Saturday February 21st, Wednesday February 25th, and Saturday February 28th ; I guarantee you will not be disappointed, between the quality of play on the field and the excitement in the stands, it will be a time to remember.