2017 has already been an important year for Soccer in Charleston, not least because of the Charleston Battery‘s 25th anniversary. But now, a new chapter in Charleston soccer history is about to be written.
The Charleston Fleet, Charleston’s new Women’s team, will begin their first season in the WPSL, (US Women’s second tier) on June 3rd. We touched base with Fleet GM Sarah Michner ahead of their inaugural campaign:
BYP: This is your first season as a club, but how long has the Fleet been in the works? How did it come about?
SM: The idea for starting a Women’s Semi-Pro team is something we have talked about for years as we have moved around the country. But, the idea for the Fleet is something we seriously started looking at about a year and a half ago. My husband Christian (CofC Women’s Soccer Coach) and I have long backgrounds in soccer, playing & coaching at different levels in the US and both were able to develop and grow through various pro & semi-pro opportunities. We are both very passionate about the game and the development of youth players.
How important do you think bringing the Women’s game to Charleston will be to the ever-growing Soccer culture in the City?
Charleston obviously has a long rich soccer history via the Battery, and having a Women’s team that parallels that only makes sense as the Women’s game grows and as Charleston grows! It’s the number one city, year after year and this only adds to what makes it special.
You’ve announced your affiliation with the Battery. You’ve talked a bit about it already, but how important is it to have them on board given their 25 year history and footprint in the City?
Having the Battery’s support has been huge and it definitely helps validate what we are doing. The whole Battery organization has been very supportive. The Battery’s legacy is one we hope to mirror in longevity. But, we are also anxious to create our own path for the Women’s game here in Charleston.
In your first year, what are your aims on and off the field?
We are excited to get under way on June 3rd. We feel we will have a very competitive roster and hope to come together as a group to display a quality soccer experience for the fans and a place for the players to learn and grow.
There seems to be a lot of hype around the club at the minute and word is that you seem to be on the road to bigger and better things. Is there anything in the works to go into the NWSL?
Well, its nice to hear people are as excited as we are! Currently, we just want to make this first season the best we can, for the players and the fans. We are focused on having the Fleet be a part of the Charleston soccer community for years to come. Personally, I think Charleston would be a great location for an NWSL team in the future.
It seems that the Fleet have big things, and big plans ahead of them. Perhaps the most interesting answer from the interview is how they’re putting an emphasis on promoting youth, as giving College players the option to continue their careers after they graduate could be very important to the game in the long run.
The Fleet begin their season on June 3rd at MUSC Health Stadium against the Carolina Rapids. The game will be part of a doubleheader with the Battery, as their game against Louisville City FC will kick off at 7. You can view the rest of the Fleet’s schedule here. The Fleet are also holding tryouts on May 13th, and you can find more information on that by visiting their website.