CHARLESTON, SC -- The Charleston Battery announced an extension of its affiliation with MLS expansion side Atlanta United Wednesday afternoon.
The partnership renewal comes after a successful first season as affiliates. With the MLS club preparing for its first season of competition in 2017, the Battery provided its players with a competitive, professional home during 2016.
“We’re excited to extend our partnership with Atlanta for the 2017 season,” said Charleston Battery President Andrew Bell. “They sent us some quality players who did well here last year. They’ll have a full roster for the 2017 season, so we’re expecting another successful year.”
Atlanta United’s first ever signing, goalkeeper Alex Tambakis, spent the entire 2016 season with the Battery, starting 21 USL matches and earning six shutouts as the team’s first choice goalkeeper. Forward Jeffery Otoo and U17 USMNT star Andrew Carleton later joined Tambakis on the Battery roster. Romario Williams, who completed a move to Atlanta following a successful season on loan in the USL, also spent the entirety of 2016 with the Battery and led the team in scoring with 10 goals.
“Our mutually-beneficial partnership with Charleston made perfect sense for us to continue,” said Atlanta United president Darren Eales. “Our players were able to gain valuable professional experience last season and we look forward to having the opportunity to utilize the partnership even more in 2017 with having a full roster.”
Atlanta United selected Syracuse University defender Miles Robinson and Providence University midfielder Julian Gressel in the first round of the MLS SuperDraft. The two rookies will join Atlanta’s growing roster, which includes notable players Miguel Almiron, Kenwyne Jones, Tito Villalba and Chris McCann.
With both teams competing in their respective leagues and the close proximity of the clubs, players may travel back and forth more frequently than last season. Atlanta loanees will join Justin Portillo, Maikel Chang, Quinton Griffith, O’Brian Woodbine, Neveal Hackshaw, Ataulla Guerra, and Forrest Lasso who are all signed for the 2017 season.
The affiliates will meet on the final day of the 2017 Carolina Challenge Cup at MUSC Health Stadium. Charleston Battery vs. Atlanta United will kick off at 7:00 on February 25, one week before Atlanta plays its first MLS match in history and one month before the USL season begins.