Leading scorer Claudio Repetto is among nine players set to return to the Charleston Battery for the 2022 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery announced on Wednesday the club’s initial roster moves heading into the 2022 USL Championship campaign, featuring the return of nine key players from the 2021 squad.
The Battery exercised contract options on leading scorer Claudio Repetto and goalkeeper Joe Kuzminsky, while also retaining defender Patrick Hogan and midfielders Burke Fahling and DZ Harmon. Defender AJ Paterson and Leland Archer, midfielder Geobel Perez and forward Nicque Daley were previously under contract for the 2022 season.
Repetto returns having recorded nine goals in 24 appearances in his first season with the Battery, having joined the club after completing his college career at Coastal Carolina University. The Italian forward is joined in attack by Nicque Daley, who recorded an individual single-season high eight goals to sit second on the team in 2021. The 21-year-old Jamaican has recorded 15 goals and five assists in 57 appearances for the Battery over his first three seasons with the club.
Kuzminsky will enter 2022 as the longest-tenured returning Battery player as he heads into his sixth season with the club. The 27-year-old has made 89 regular-season appearances in the Championship for Charleston, recording 248 saves and 28 shutouts while posting a 1.31 goals-against average for his career.
The defensive trio of Archer, Paterson and Hogan will aim to create another tall task, figuratively and literally, for opposing attacks in 2022. Last season, Archer and Hogan were top-two on the squad in clearances and blocks, and all three led the team in aerial duels won, with Paterson winning the most at 45. Archer’s 121 clearances, in just 22 games, were seventh-most in the league. Both Archer and Paterson bring international experience to the Battery’s back line, with the former having been called up by Trinidad and Tobago and the latter having captained Grenada at the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup.
“Look at [Leland] Archer and his physical makeup, he can be a dominant center back, physically, in this league, he’s got all the natural attributes to be that,” said Battery Head Coach Conor Casey. “Looking at someone like AJ Paterson, he’s played for his national team and has that experience. [Claudio] Repetto’s got some natural goal-scoring instincts and you’ve got [Nicque] Daley who has incredible speed.”
Harmon and Fahling, meanwhile, each developed into regular contributors in the starting lineup and off the bench in their first seasons in Charleston. The pair ranked in the top-four in appearances for the Battery this past season – Harmon with 29, setting a team-high, and Fahling with 27, tied for fourth. Harmon’s hard-nosed playing style in the midfield made him a valuable asset, especially off the bench against tired legs, as he registered two goals, two assists and 17 chances created. Fahling was among the more active players when he stepped on the field and had a knack for dangerous crosses and set pieces, while tallying two assists, two goals, and 20 chances created.
Perez’s versatility will see him transition into the midfield. Flashing elements of speed and solid ball control, the young Cuban had a promising first season in the professional ranks, notching two goals and two assists in 22 appearances, including seven starts.
“The core that’s remained is a group that maybe didn’t reach their potential last year, but I don’t say that as a bad thing,” said Casey. “I think there’s a lot of room for growth and they have a familiarity with the team. So, it’ll be about empowering them and driving the culture and helping to build that foundation for all the new guys coming in as well.”