Club Captain Taylor Mueller and leading scorer in 2018 Attaula Guerra highlight the Charleston Battery’s 12 initial returning players ahead of 2019.
Goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky, who kept the 4th most clean sheets last term, as well as defenders Leland Archer, Jay Bolt, and Jarad van Schaik, part of a defense that kept 15 clean sheets, tied for third in the league last term, midfielders Tah Brian Anunga, Angelo Kelly, Nico Rittmeyer and Kotaro Higashi, and forward Ian Sventesson are all slated to return, as well as Romario Piggott, who arrived last year with a view to meaningful minutes in 2019.
A notable absence is defender Skylar Thomas, whose signing for Canadian Premier League Club Valour FC was announced earlier in the week. Odisnel Cooper, Vincenzo Candela, Dante Marini and Neveal Hackshaw are also absent, though there are likely to be more announcements in the coming weeks. Loanees Gordon Wild and Patrick Okonkwo returned to Atlanta United at the end of last year.
With 12 returning members of the 2018 squad, this is up from 9 the year before, and again retains a good core group of the team that secured an 11th successive playoff berth which will be added to through Open Trials and other moves throughout the next few months before the 15th edition of the Carolina Challenge Cup in the second week of February.
Returning striker Attaula Guerra ended the season tied for fourth in goals with 16 after leading the charts for multiple stretches of the season in an inverted front three which included Kotaro Higashi and Nico Rittmeyer for much of the season, who also remain in Black and Yellow for the new campaign.
Taylor Mueller returns for his eighth season with the Black and Yellow, having started every one of his 32 appearances last year, perhaps the biggest piece amongst a defense that kept 15 clean sheets in 2018.
The returning cast, with the exception of Piggott, bring back over 1000 minutes from last year, with 61% of the goals also returning.
Look out for more roster announcements in the coming weeks as we head into the home stretch of the offseason ahead of the Carolina Challenge Cup, with open trials and additional re-signings on the horizon.
ALL PHOTOS CREDIT ROSS ALMERS PHOTOGRAPHY AND DESIGN