CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery announced Tuesday the formation of a strategic partnership with Scottish top-division club Hibernian FC of Edinburgh. The partnership will provide collaboration between both clubs on matters including player development, scouting efforts, operational efficiency and community engagement. The two historic organizations envision an evolving relationship founded on shared values and philosophies employed on and off the pitch.
“It’s an exciting day for the Charleston Battery. To be able to partner with such an historic club like Hibernian FC is truly special,” said Battery co-owner Brandon Lieb.
“We have been looking at opportunities across Europe, including the Scottish Premiership, and believe that Hibernian FC is an ideal partner. Our two clubs share many of the same values and beliefs. This is an opportunity for us to collaborate and evolve our clubs through an innovative, transatlantic partnership.”
Ronald J Gordon, major shareholder and Executive Chairman at Hibernian FC, said “We are delighted and excited by this partnership. It brings together two clubs with shared values on and off the pitch, in a way that will help us both to achieve our aspirations. Looking at ways we can work together, be smarter, expand our networks and learn from each other is only going to be a good thing.”
The player development component of the partnership will provide select Battery players the opportunity to train with the Scottish club in Edinburgh. Defender Leland Archer and midfielder Robbie Crawford kick off the player exchange as the two have already traveled to Edinburgh. The players will begin training with Hibernian FC in mid November and gain valuable experience in a top-tier European professional league during the Battery’s offseason.
Likewise, Hibernian players will have the opportunity to train in Charleston with the Battery. “It provides a stepping stone for our players who have potential to perform at some of the highest levels of European soccer,” Battery COO Mike Kelleher added. “And to welcome players from Hibernian to share their expertise and train with our players here in Charleston, we couldn’t ask for a better partner to expand our international scouting network. From a professional standpoint, it provides a pathway for players on both sides to grow immensely.”
On the technical side, the teams will share best practices pertaining to training methodologies, scouting, and sports science. “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,” Lieb added.
Additionally, the partnership will mutually benefit the front-office operations of both clubs as they’ll exchange knowledge on areas such as ticketing, sponsorship and community engagement. “We are looking forward to a far-reaching partnership that will bolster both clubs as leading innovators in our respective leagues,” Gordon added.
Both teams will begin engaging immediately as Hibernian’s principal contact for the partnership, Ian Gordon, resides in Charleston. Archer and Crawford begin training with the Scottish side immediately after a two-week quarantine upon their arrival and Battery front-office representatives will head to Edinburgh in the new year to observe Hibernian’s facilities and begin planning for 2021.
“Full credit goes to our Technical Scout, Ian Gordon, who has worked very hard to deliver this partnership,” Hibernian FC Sporting Director Graeme Mathie said. “The link with Charleston Battery allows us to tap in to their network and resources as we look to expand our scouting activities into new markets, and we are already looking forward to welcoming two of their current squad to the Hibernian Training Centre in the coming weeks for an extended training period, with the potential for two of our young players to travel there early next year.
“These relationships stand or fall by the quality of the people involved and I have been really impressed in all the dealings I’ve had with everyone at Charleston Battery - to be the oldest professional club in the US shows a huge commitment to growth and development and I am excited to begin this relationship in earnest in the near future.”