Some Battery news for your Wednesday…
Colin Falvey was the only Battery player to make the USL PRO All-League First Team on Tuesday, joining Rob Valentino of Orlando and Henry Kalungi and William Yomby of the Richmond Kickers. This afternoon Falvey made the list of three finalists (Yomby, Valentino) for Defender of the Year. The award will be announced at 2 p.m. on Friday in Orlando, ahead of Saturday’s championship match between the Charlotte Eagles and the Orlando City Lions.
Midfielder Michael Azira joined Falvey on the All-League roster, but made it as a second-team option.
Just an aside, and I know I keep coming back to this, but if there was a “Player Prognosticator” award in this league it ought to go to Falvey for calling out Azira as his returning teammate who was most likely to make a big contribution. Remember, Falvey did this back in March, at a time when Azira was still looking for a position and hadn’t yet fully staked a claim to a starting role.
And in a slightly disappointing development, Battery rookie Odisnel Cooper failed to make the three-man ballot for Rookie of the Year despite finishing the season with the league’s third-best Goals-Against average (1.09).
SPEAKING OF AZIRA: The versatile Ugandan was picked to represent his national team in August, but with the Battery chasing a second consecutive league title, Azira stuck around while the Cranes began training in advance of their upcoming World Cup Qualifier against powerhouse Senegal in Morocco.
Azira left the U.S. shortly after the Battery’s elimination from the playoffs on Friday, and reportedly joined the team on Tuesday in Turkey, where the Cranes are camped in advance of Saturday’s qualifier in Marrakesh, Morocco. According to Kawowo Sports, he’d been scheduled to arrive on Monday, but was delayed by mechanical problems with his flight.
“I am happy that finally I am here with the team,” he said on arrival. “I am ready to give the team 100 percent if the coach picks me on Saturday.”
FRANCOPHONE GAMES: Midfielders Ben Fisk and Bryce Alderson also left Charleston in a hurry — in their case to join Canada’s U-21 team for the international Francophone Games in Nice, France, from Sept. 3 to 15th. If you’ve never heard of the event, which is held every four years, that’s probably because its an international competition for countries that speak French.
The two Charleston Canadians started in their team’s scoreless draw against Cameroon in a friendly on Tuesday, and face France on Friday, Rwanda on Sunday and Congo on Sept. 1o. Unfortunately, the event website really doesn’t seem to offer much in the way of finding the results of actual events, so… Qui sait?
For those of you addicted to answers to obvious but unimportant questions, Fisk says that he and Bryce probably can handle the basics of speaking and understanding French, which should come in handy at what amounts to an Olympics for French-speakers. Bon chance!
THE BATTERY DIASPORA: According to several players, the team got together on Tuesday morning for the last time (although, some players had already left by then). It sounds like the topics were mostly administrative.
There are end of season physicals to complete, plus some individual evaluations. And with most of the players living in apartments leased by the team through the middle of the month , there are expenses and logistics to sort out.
Several players could get opportunities to move up sooner rather than later. Battery scoring leader and Offensive MVP Dane Kelly of Jamaica is reportedly on his way to Philadelphia for a trial with the Union. Team MVP Colin Falvey sparked interest from the Vancouver Whitecaps this summer, and started for them in a Reserve League match against Real Salt Lake on July 16. There are reasons to suspect Vancouver might not be the only MLS club with the 28-year-old defensive ace on their radar, but Falvey says only that his agent is doing his job.
Falvey lives downtown, where his younger brother, Richard, has been visiting from Cork, Ireland, and so far has said only that he’s not sure when he’ll be going someplace else. He’s one of six Battery players who live in South Carolina year-round.
Rookie Shawn Ferguson showed up on Sunday to watch his alma mater, the College of Charleston, take down No. 22 Xavier. No word on his off-season plans. Fellow first-year-player Austin Savage, a Lowcountry native, said he is looking various off-season soccer opportunities in the U.S. and overseas. If those aren’t the answer, he’ll train locally.
Zach Prince has a full-time professional job as a systems analyst, so his life actually gets less complicated in the off-season. Mark Wiltse‘s parents have a house in the area, but no word from him on whether he’ll be sticking around.
John Wilson lives in the Uptown section (also the location of the Xarktopia LLC/CHSSoccer.net world headquarters) of Charleston. He’s already made a trip up to Clemson to watch a Tigers’ soccer match, and will continue coaching locally and doing work with NCSA Sports and a couple of soccer-related companies. He expects to train regularly at Blackbaud and said he enjoys the solitude of running at the stadium field.
Nicki Paterson and his fiance, Cheryl McSeveny, will be returning to their native Scotland soon. They are planning what promises to be a fairly awesome wedding. Paterson said he’ll also be looking for some soccer opportunities. He has played previously with Clyde, which is currently competing in Scotland‘s League Two.
Emmanuel Adjetey is signed to the Vancouver Whitecaps PDL squad, so his next step is a return flight to Vancouver. But expects to leave for Ghana to visit his family soon. No word on the plans of his fellow African, Amadou Sanyang, a native of Gambia.
Cody Ellison left this morning for California. “I’m the best man at my buddy’s wedding (Saturday) so I have to get back. As for the off-season, I’m just going to be working (bucking hay) and trying to stay in shape. It’ll be nice to be home and see my family and friends.” His longtime teammate and fellow Californian, Jose “Chiva” Cuevas, leaves on Saturday. Cuevas said in July that he planned on returning to his hometown of Farmersville, where he helps coach his former high school team, but mentioned no off-season plans when I checked with him today. The team’s third Californian, goalkeeper Kevin Klasila, said he leaves for the West Coast on Monday.
Two of the guys are from the Pacific Northwest. Taylor Mueller injured his knee in training before the quarter-finals, and expects to stick around here until it gets a little better. He expects to coach and train in Washington, and said he’ll probably work at Costco in the mornings. No word on Jarad van Schaik‘s plans yet.
I’ve heard from two of the team’s three Cubans. Maikel Chang is unsure what he’ll be doing, but he’s planning to stay in the Charleston area. Same with Heviel Cordoves, who will be looking for work in the area. He’s an experienced cook, so if you need someone to work in your kitchen, let us know. I don’t know what’s going on with Battery Newcomer of the Year Odisnel Cooper.
As for Quinton Griffith, the Battery’s Antiguan speedster, I have no idea what he’s up to. But whatever he’s doing, he’s probably doing it with style.
TOP IMAGE: Colin Falvey, Michael Azira and Ben Fisk. Dan Conover photos.