Charleston Battery owner Eric Bowman confirmed in an interview with The Black and Yellow Post, that his objective is to eventually see the Battery join Major League Soccer.
"We want to take the Battery as high as we can and we won't put a limit on the possibilities. The long-term goal is to turn Charleston into an MLS city. Obviously that's a long way off, but we think it's attainable. There's talk of MLS expanding to Saint Louis, Sacramento, San Antonio etc. So the jump from USL to MLS is within our reach. If MLS wants to be in a particular market, the League will find a way to make it happen. Our job is to turn Charleston into a market that MLS wants to expand to. If we can leverage the sport's growing popularity nationally and the dedicated local fan base that's been here from the start with the improvements we're making on the field and in the stadium, we'll get there."
Bowman,a local software entrepreneur, played a key role in Charleston's recent tech boom, founding SPARC, Teamphoria and several other successful companies in the area. Bowman took over the ownership role in Febuary, purchasing the club from long time owner Tony Bakker.
Since the sale, B Sports Entertainment, another one of Bowman's companies, has taken over the Battery's day-to-day operations, bringing with it a wide range of resources essential to the tech mogul's lofty goals.
The Battery, who currently compete in the third-division, already meet the United States Soccer Federation's standards for second division clubs. But there's still a long way to go if Charleston wants to be given any serious consideration for a MLS expansion bid.
The club has made several upgrades to MUSC Health Stadium including improved stadium wifi, a new audio system, and most notably the addition of a massive 3,000 square foot video board. But the stadium's capacity sits just above 5,000, meaning the Battery will either need to do some drastic expansion or consider building an entirely new stadium.
Team owner Eric Bowman has just installed one of the biggest screens in US soccer stadiums right now. @Chas_Battery pic.twitter.com/80gnyRZMio— Jake Edwards (@EdwardsUSL) May 28, 2016
Charleston's growing value as a market will undoubtedly be a key selling point for any pitch the Battery would make to MLS. With companies like Volvo and Boeing setting up shop in the Lowcountry, and an already booming tourism industry, Charleston is easily among the fastest growing cities in America.
A spot in MLS may be a long shot for Charleston, but Bowman's ambitions will surely create a ton of excitement among Battery supporters who may find themselves asking, "Why not us?"