Soccer notes compiled while waiting for the USL PRO Defender of the Year announcement…
American Outlaws Charleston: Game No. 1
As habitual readers of this site are no doubt aware, we made it something of a quest here to drum up interest in forming an official Charleston chapter of the American Outlaws back before the start of the Gold Cup schedule. Our first effort at encouraging people to come out, watch the USMNT’s mid-week friendly against Belgium on May 29 and maybe sign up for the new chapter ended with Janet and I having a quiet meal all alone in the soccer room at Madra Rua Park Circle.
But like the king of Swamp Castle, we didn’t let a little thing like abject failure stand between us and our goal. And eventually Mikey Buytas stepped in, took over the effort, and before long we were drawing big crowds for game nights.
Of course, it didn’t hurt that the USA’s 1A team absolutely romped through the Gold Cup, either.
Long story short, by the end of July, we’d put together enough members to qualify for an application, and with Mikey working all the angles, pretty soon we’d filed to the American Outlaws home office, somewhere in Nebraska.
Anyway, news that we’d been named the 92nd official A.O. chapter came down about a week after the USMNT’s most recent match (Aug. 14 against Bosnia-Herzegozina, a.k.a. “The Jozy Game”). So even though it’s been a while since the announcement, Friday night’s World Cup Qualifier at Costa Rica (beIN Sports, 10 p.m.) is our first chance to get together as an official chapter. We’ll be getting there around around 9:30.
And don’t forget, it’s a short turn-around to the AC-Charleston watch party for Mexico at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, on Tuesday night, so don’t forget to mark your calendars. Or better yet, don’t bother. Try our new Events Calendar. Let us know if it’s useful for you.
Lagniappe: A little piece on American Outlaws from Huffington Post today.
BTW, did we mention our new Events Calendar?
I had such high hopes for our free community calendar plug-in that I stuck that bad-boy on the bottom of the home page and gave out free “Calendar User” accounts to everybody who would take one.
And then a few weeks ago, I figured out that the plug-in had ceased to work. Finally got around to working on it this week, and determined to start over with something “better.”
I like this new calendar quite a bit, but I’m still working on building a custom account profile that would let me give people access to put their events on my calendar. So for now, if you’ve got a calendar of events — games, training schedules, parties, meetings, happy hours, whatever — please email me your calendar, and I’ll get about the business of posting it.
A community calendar is a big part of building a community, so please send me your stuff.
Speaking of upcoming events…
The final USL PRO match of 2013 kicks off Saturday at 7:30 in Orlando. It’s the underdog Charlotte Eagles against the overdog Orlando City Lions. Like the Battery, the Eagles drew the Lions at home 1-1, then lost by a goal at the Citrus Bowl.
Things got a bit worse for the Eagles on Wednesday when the Orlando front office and its MLS partner, Sporting Kansas City, announced that First-Half-of-the-USL-PRO-season-MVP (TM) Dom Dwyer will return for the championship game. The main reason cited? Forward Long Tan‘s red card suspension against Charleston last week left the club short of strikers.
Battery athletic trainer Bobby Weisenberger points out that Charlotte did well against the Lions with Dwyer in the lineup earlier this season. And bringing back a loaned player for the playoffs is within the rules — so long as he’s played the required number of regular-season matches (which Dwyer has). But the ability to turn to your senior partner the week before the championship and bring in what amounts to a ringer is also one of those weird quirks that make life in the lower tiers of the North American Soccer Pyramid unique.
You can watch the championship live on USLNation.com.
Meanwhile, for Charleston, the last-gasp chance for glory in 2013 rests with the balloting for USL PRO Defender of the Year. Colin Falvey is up for the honor, along with Rob Valentino of Orlando and William Yomby of Richmond. The league will announce the winners of multiple year-end awards Friday at 2 p.m. in Orlando, but Falvey is the only Battery player to be named as a finalist in any category.
And then there’s college play
It’s actually a pretty big weekend for local college play, with all three of our women’s teams in action here in Charleston and our one men’s team playing within driving distance in Greenville. There are four matches, three locally, two for the College of Charleston women. And the one game on the schedule for Charleston Southern and The Citadel is a crosst0wn showdown.
The plan here is to cover the Virginia Commonwealth at College of Charleston women’s match at 7:30 at Patriots Point live on Friday, then cover the CSU at Citadel match at 2 p.m. on Sunday. Afterwards, I’ll round up the results from Saturday’s College of Charleston men’s match at Furman (7 p.m.) and the C of C women’s second home match of the weekend, Sunday at 2:30 against Kent State.
This will be our first time covering a soccer match at The Citadel, where the team hosts opponents on the Washington Light Infantry Field. The Bulldogs are off to a decent start, but the team on a hot streak heading into the weekend is Charleston Southern, which has won three in a row after dropping their season-opener to C of C. The Cougar women ran a gauntlet in Illinois last week, taking beatings at DePaul and the University of Illinois.
The C of C men lost a heartbreaker to No. 8 Akron on Friday but managed to pull out a short-handed win against No. 22 Xavier on Sunday.