The Charleston Battery announced Tuesday the hiring of Lee Cohen as Club President. Cohen comes to the organization having most recently served as president of fellow USL Championship club, the Tampa Bay Rowdies. He joins the Battery with a breadth of professional sports experience to lead both the club’s soccer and business operations into the future.
“The club is very excited to announce Lee as our new President. Lee brings two decades of experience in the game and our league, a proven track record of success, a tremendous reputation and high character,” said Battery Chairman Rob Salvatore. “We are fortunate our search lined up while someone like Lee was available to accept this challenge and lead our organization and next phase of growth.”
Cohen joins the Battery overseeing the club’s entire operations, both on the sporting side, including players and coaches, as well as the team’s business operations, from stadium operations to ticketing, marketing, and sponsorship development.
“I’m extremely grateful for the trust and faith I have received from Rob, his family and the entire HCFC ownership group to lead this historical club into the future,” said Cohen. “I look forward to working closely with our passionate supporters, community partners, staff and players to continue to build upon what the entire HCFC group has done over the past three years.
“Our standard for the Battery will be entertaining soccer, great fan experience at Patriots Point and entrenched ambassadors within the community. We will all continue to show why the Charleston Battery are an elite organization within North American sports.”
Cohen arrives in Charleston with solid sports executive experience and familiarity with the USL Championship, most recently serving as President of the Tampa Bay Rowdies.
Lee spent four years at the USL dealing with league operations and player development before joining the Rowdies in 2010. There, he oversaw team operations, eventually becoming the club’s Chief Operating Officer in 2012, and then club President in 2020.
Cohen’s work with the Rowdies contributed to ongoing success for the club in that span, starting with their North American Soccer League championship title in 2012. Cohen additionally oversaw the renovations of Al Lang Stadium in 2014, building a never-before-seen, immersive experience for fans, at the pro soccer level.
As president, Cohen led the Rowdies through the pandemic-shortened 2020 season to secure the club’s first Eastern Conference Championship title, eventually going back-to-back and claiming a second Eastern Conference Championship title in the 2021 season.
“USL soccer is in my blood,” said Cohen. “I’m very excited to take my experience and success in Tampa Bay, which as a southeastern coastal city is not too dissimilar from Charleston.
“My family is thrilled to call Charleston home. I cannot wait to engage with our fans and supporters to work together making Charleston the envy of pro soccer fans across the country, delivering a winning product on the field while presenting a best-in-class experience for fans in the stadium.
“We want to establish Charleston as a place that visiting teams dread to play at, while also showcasing the club as a premier club for players and staff to want to be a part of.”
Cohen’s hiring comes as part of the next evolution of the Battery after the club’s move to Patriots Point in 2020.
“We have a great foundation in place at Patriots Point, in our front office and with our commercial partnerships,” said Salvatore. “Lee is ready to build on that while taking our community impact and on-field performance to where it belongs. Given his tenure in and around USL, Lee understands the significance of this historic franchise and responsibility of its stewardship. He’s ready for the challenge and our ownership group is here to support his every effort.”
Cohen joins the Battery with immediate effect, overseeing all club operations with two home matches remaining this season at Patriots Point; Hispanic Heritage Night on September 23 against Rio Grande Valley FC Toros and the season finale at home against Loudoun United FC as the club celebrates Breast Cancer Awareness Night.
“I feel like it is the first day of school, I’m very excited to dive in immediately, get in the trenches, and talk to supporters and fans over the next couple of home games, and see out the positives of 2022 so we can build on it and do amazing things next year,” said Cohen.