The Charleston Battery announced Tuesday the beginning of a new partnership with Scottish Premiership side Hibernian FC, commonly known as Hibs.
Per the club’s press release, the partnership will see the two teams collaborate through player development, scouting efforts, operational efficiency, and community engagement, among other things.
To begin the partnership, the Black and Yellow have sent defender Leland Archer and midfielder Robbie Crawford over to Scotland to train with the team following a two-week quarantine period under Coronavirus measures. According to sporting director Graeme Mathie, two Hibs players will possibly join the Battery early next year in the leadup to the 2021 USL campaign.
Hibs players will also have the opportunity to play in Charleston, which according to Battery COO Mike Kelleher “Provides a stepping stone for our players who have the potential to perform at some of the highest levels of European Soccer… And to welcome players from Hibernian to share their expertise and train with our players in Charleston.” Kelleher also stated that it was the perfect opportunity for the Battery to expand its global scouting network.
The partnership will also include sharing insights into sports science, with Brandon Lieb, Battery co-owner, saying: “We might be the oldest continuously run professional soccer club in the United States, but Hibernian has more than a century of history and experience. We can learn a lot from them.”
Hibs majority shareholder and Executive Chairman Ronald J. Gordon was similarly optimistic about the project: “We are looking forward to a far-reaching partnership that will bolster both clubs as leading innovators in our respective leagues.”
Hibs technical scout Ian Gordon, who brokered the partnership, resides in Charleston. The Edinburgh based club will “expand their scouting network and resources” through the Battery.
Hibs have won every major honor in Scotland, most recently the league cup in 2007 and Scottish cup in 2016. So on that end, the two clubs are very similar, with a history of success that both strive to get back to as soon as they can.
The Battery is the latest USL side to partner with a European team, with perhaps the most notable being the Tampa Bay Rowdies’ partnership with English side Norwich City, which has been successful for both parties. The Black and Yellow will be hopeful that their own partnership will be just as fruitful.
The news comes after the Battery finished their 2020 campaign at the conference semi-final stage of the USL Playoffs after what was a successful regular season that included a nine-game unbeaten streak and a second-place finish in Group H of the rearranged 2020 USL season. The partnership begins the building blocks of what promises to be an interesting 2021 season.