The Charleston Battery announced Wednesday the initial roster moves heading into the 2022 campaign, featuring the return of nine key players from the 2021 squad. The current roster now lays a foundation for Head Coach Conor Casey to build upon as he leads the Black and Yellow in his first season at the reins.
The returnees are spread across the pitch and the ensemble features varying levels of experience, from veterans ready to lead again to second-year players hungry to seize the momentum of their rookie seasons.
Battery goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky is back with the Black and Yellow following another strong season between the pipes, with defenders Leland Archer, AJ Paterson and Patrick Hogan all returning to the back line in front of Kuzminsky. Midfielders Burke Fahling and DZ Harmon will both be back following promising first seasons at the professional level. The versatile Geobel Perez will also join them in midfield. Up top, Nicque Daley and Claudio Repetto return as a formidable unit of forwards ready to build on their 2021 campaigns.
“We have some good leadership qualities and athletic qualities within this group,” said Head Coach Conor Casey. “There are some important relationships that have formed in the small core of the team that we’re building from.”
Of those returning, Coach Casey has had his eye on a few specific players who he expects to be key contributors to his vision for the squad.
“Look at [Leland] Archer and his physical makeup, he can be a dominant center back, physically, in this league, he’s got all the natural attributes to be that,” said Coach Casey. “Looking at someone like AJ Paterson, he’s played for his national team and has that experience. [Claudio] Repetto’s got some natural goal-scoring instincts and you’ve got [Nicque] Daley who has incredible speed.”
The club continues to assess and evaluate players, both potential returnees and possible new signings, to shore up the 2022 roster and updates will be provided in due time.
The nine players will look to build on the chemistry established in 2021, especially the second-year players who now have a whole season of professional play under their belts.
Kuzminsky is the longest-tenured Battery player returning as he heads into his sixth season with the club. The shot-stopper will approach the century mark in appearances in 2022 as he currently has 94 club caps across all competitions. His experience and leadership will be leaned on in the new season.
The trio of Archer, Paterson and Hogan will aim to create another tall task, figuratively and literally, for opposing offenses in 2022. Last season, Archer and Hogan were top-two on the squad in clearances and blocks, and all three led the team in aerial duels won, with Paterson winning the most at 45. Archer’s 121 clearances, in just 22 games, were seventh-most in the league.
Harmon and Fahling each developed into regular contributors in the starting lineup and off the bench, with the pair slotting in the top-four in appearances – Harmon with 29, tied for the most, and Fahling with 27, tied for fourth. Harmon’s hard-nosed playing style in the midfield made him a valuable asset, especially off the bench against tired legs, as he registered two goals, two assists and 17 chances created. Fahling was among the more active players when he stepped on the field and had a knack for dangerous crosses and setpieces, while tallying two assists, two goals, and 20 chances created.
Geobel Perez’s versatility will see him transition into the midfield. Flashing elements of speed and solid ball control, Perez had a promising first season in the professional ranks, notching two goals and two assists in 22 appearances (seven starts).
There’s no shortage of goal-scoring firepower between Repetto and Daley. Despite joining the team later in the season, Repetto made an instant impact and led the team in scoring with nine goals. Daley proved to be a potent threat once again after co-leading the team in scoring the year before, notching eight goals, including two braces, during the 2021 campaign.
“It’s a good mix in that core group to start from and build forward to be an aggressive, vertical team,” said Coach Casey.
As the roster continues to be assembled by Casey and the staff, departures of players are expected – among them being Zeiko Lewis, who signed with Sacramento Republic FC this offseason. The club thanks the players who are moving on for their contributions and dedication to the Battery this past season, and wishes them well in the next stages of their respective careers.
Coach Casey is excited about leading the club in his first season and looks forward to helping the players maximize their impact on the pitch.
“The core that’s remained is a group that maybe didn’t reach their potential last year, but I don’t say that as a bad thing,” said Coach Casey. “I think there’s a lot of room for growth and they have a familiarity with the team. So, it’ll be about empowering them and driving the culture and helping to build that foundation for all the new guys coming in as well.”
Following the club’s initial moves, the roster currently stands as follows:
Goalkeepers: Joe Kuzminsky
Defenders: Leland Archer, Patrick Hogan, AJ Paterson
Midfielders: Burke Fahling, DZ Harmon, Geobel Perez
Forwards: Nicque Daley, Claudio Repetto
Stay tuned to the Battery’s official social media channels on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram, and the club’s website for the latest updates to the 2022 roster, coaching staff and more.
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