There’s a bumper night of action ahead with 10 games slated in the Championship, including the Southern Derby where a notable landmark is in view for one of the longest-tenured players in the league. Here’s your Morning Tea for Wednesday.
If you’d have told current Charleston Battery defender Jarad van Schaik in 2011 when he was trying to break into the professional ranks that nine years later he’d not only still be in action, but coming up on his 150th appearance at a single club, he might not have believed you.
“That first year is all about trying to get that first contract and get my feet in any club I can,” said van Schaik. “It’s crazy how time flies.”
After spending the first two seasons of his career with the Puerto Rico Islanders, Van Schaik first landed in Charleston for the 2013 season, and aside from a brief detour in 2016 with Rayo OKC, he’s been there ever since.
On Wednesday night as the Battery visit North Carolina FC (7 p.m. ET | ESPN+), he could become the fourth player in the Championship’s history to record 150 regular season appearances with one club, joining former Battery teammate Taylor Mueller (200), former Pittsburgh Riverhounds SC midfielder Kevin Kerr (183) and former Richmond Kickers defender William Yomby (172) to reach the landmark.
It’s a notable landmark for the 31-year-old Portland, Oregon native, who by his own account didn’t know what to expect when he headed South for the first time seven years ago.
“I was a little shell-shocked at first and wondering if I was going to be able to handle South Carolina,” he said. “I love the city of Charleston, the weather out here is great – it’s a little hot and humid in the summer – but there’s tons of nature, tons of animals, you see alligators, you see eagles, you see deer, and of course it’s food, it’s known around the country for its food and restaurants and bars and shopping. It’s definitely become a second home.”
That Van Schaik is joining Mueller as players to reach the 150-game landmark at the same club is one of the reasons the Battery have maintained their on-field success over the years. The history of the club is one that Van Schaik appreciates greatly, in addition to the supporters that have been backing the club for as long – and in many cases longer – than his tenure in midfield and the back line.
He also has a great appreciation for Battery legend Mike Anhaeuser, whose time at the club now stretches more than a quarter of a century and has provided a place where players can thrive on and off the field.
“I think what I really enjoy about him is he cares a lot, and he treats each person as an individual he cares about and he’ll manage you accordingly,” said Van Schaik. “If you’re a someone who needs something, a day off for an unrelated family reason, for family, he’s always going to let you take care of your family first. I think he really cares about his players and manages their emotions, not just soccer-wide but things outside of that, and really lets you feel like a human and lets you get out of your soccer routine.”
Charleston has made another strong start in its bid to maintain a streak of reaching the postseason that began before Van Schaik arrived seven years ago. Against North Carolina, there will also be the Southern Derby Cup on the line as the two rivals meet for the only time this season.
If, as expected, it turns out to be a landmark night for Van Schaik, he’d certainly like to mark it with a trophy.
“We always have good battles with NCFC, and any time there’s a trophy involved it adds a little fire in your belly, and little something to get after it,” he said. “We take pride in any trophy we can win, we want to win any time we go out there, and this game will be no different. They’re always a tough team, always tough at home, they got a great field to play on, I actually don’t mind playing there, so we’ll see what happens.”
Some words of encouragement for @FC_Hartlepool from @PHXRisingFC head coach @RickSchantz1 at today's press conference. Players of all ages from the community club are combining to run the distance from Hartlepool to Phoenix to raise funds #RisingTogether pic.twitter.com/wFXwkJ3szS— Owain Evans (@ojevans18) August 18, 2020
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