Okay I know what you're probably thinking. Dirty South Soccer is covering the Charleston Battery this season and of course we want you to care about them so you read our stuff. Yes, that may be true, but there are many good reasons why you as an Atlanta United fan should care about and watch as many Battery matches as possible this year.
1. Alexander The Great
The first and most obvious reason is of course, Alex Tambakis. Atlanta United's first ever signing has won the Battery's starting goalkeeper job. While it's only been one match into the USL season, the 23-year-old is already turning heads with his composure and presence in the box. His talent is undeniable and it should be a treat to watch him man the goal for the Battery throughout their 2016 campaign. Perhaps it's even a chance to get a glimpse of Atlanta's starting goalkeeper of 2017.
2. AUFC will likely sign at least one Battery player
When building their inaugural roster, Atlanta United will pursue many avenues to acquiring talent. One of the more underrated and most overlooked methods is cherry-picking players from the USL. According to MLS roster rules, teams are allowed to have signing priority for three players on their USL affiliate's roster. Here is the official explanation from the rulebook:
In addition to Homegrown Players and College Protected Players - clubs may have priority for up to three players from their USL affiliate. In order to retain priority on any additional USL affiliate players, such players must be added to an MLS club's Discovery List.
The Battery are no slouches. They have some talented players under their umbrella. Don't be surprised at all if Carlos Bocanegra, Darren Eales, and co. find a few players to their liking after a season of heavy scouting the Battery.
3. The Battery are really freaking good
Atlanta United didn't just affiliate with some random USL team that no one cares about. The Charleston Battery are one of the best clubs in all of the USL. The Battery finished 3rd in the Eastern Conference regular season in 2015 and then were eliminated in the Conference semifinals in the playoffs. This season promises to be even better with a couple of key acquisitions. They currently sit 3rd in USLSoccer.com's power rankings.
4. And they're really fun to watch
Okay so my personal sample size isn't great, but I thoroughly enjoyed watching the Battery take on FC Cincinnati last Saturday. I didn't expect to like watching the match. I had nothing else to do and was interested in seeing how Tambakis looked in goal, going in. To my surprise the game's flow and skill was highly entertaining. If you're just a general fan of soccer and enjoy pretending to be an Atlanta United scout, why not watch a few Battery matches and see which players stick out to you?
5. The crazy case of Romario Williams
Remember the name Romario Williams? We ran a crazy Twitter rumor about him several weeks ago where it was floated that he'd somehow be coming to Atlanta United from the Montreal Impact. Later, he ended up bypassing Atlanta United and ending up on-loan with the Battery. What makes this weird is that the Impact have their own USL team that they own called FC Montreal. So, why send Williams to Charleston, Atlanta's affiliate, instead of their own? Could it be that a deal has been worked out behind the scenes for Williams to join Atlanta in 2017? This is MLS. Weirder things have happened.
During his debut for Charleston, the speedy Romario Williams electrified the Battery with this stoppage time goal and made everyone hope that the above conspiracy theory somehow comes true.
What a debut for the Jamaican! pic.twitter.com/1181iEHEM4— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) March 27, 2016
These are my reasons for watching the Battery this season. Give them a shot, it's possible you'll find a rooting interest until AUFC come into the picture next season.