2022 USL Championship All-League selection Augustine Williams is one of 10 players set to return to the Battery for the 2023 USL Championship season. | Photo courtesy Ben Clemens / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery announced on Tuesday the club’s initial roster moves heading into the 2023 USL Championship season, featuring 10 key players returning from the 2022 squad.
The Battery have exercised contract options on defenders AJ Paterson and Leland Archer, midfielders Joseph Schmidt, Andrew Booth and Robbie Crawford, and forward Aidan Apodaca. Forwards Augustine Williams and Fidel Barajas, midfielder Avionne Flanagan, and defender Benji Ettienne were previously under contract for the 2023 season.
“We are thrilled to have these 10 young men return to the Battery for the 2023 season,” said Battery Head Coach Ben Pirmann. “We have a great mixture of experienced veterans and young players ready to break out. One thing all 10 have in common is they’re ready and willing to serve this club and community, and play with energy and selflessness.
“The USL Championship season is grueling and will undoubtedly have highs and lows. In order to achieve greatness on and off the field, we must have players that are willing to suffer together and persevere through the tough moments, and this group reflects those qualities.”
The backline partnership of Paterson and Archer is set to continue for a fifth consecutive season, with Grenada international Benji Ettienne entering his second club season alongside his compatriot Paterson. Archer comes into the 2023 season as the longest-tenured player on the Battery with 100 matches played across all competitions since 2018.
In the midfield, Crawford enters his third season with the club and Booth will look to build upon his exciting first year in Charleston. Barajas and Schmidt will both aim to seize the momentum of their productive rookie campaigns. Flanagan’s versatility along the left flank will see him transition to the midfield for the new campaign.
Williams and Apodaca finished 1-2 in goalscoring for the Battery in 2022, with Williams bagging an individual career-high 16 goals. The Sierra Leone international’s campaign was capped by his second USL Championship All-League selection. Apodaca, meanwhile, had six goals as he registered the most regular season appearances (33) and was tied for the most chances created (32) for the Battery last year.
“Even though I’ve only been on the job a short amount of time, I am really enjoying the opportunity to get to know all these guys,” said Pirmann. “AJ is a great leader who is willing to do it all for this club and our community, as he has for multiple years. Leland is a tough competitor with loads of experience for the Battery, I’m excited to see him have a breakout season as a top center-back in this league.
“Augustine will be targeted by our opponents after a great individual 2022 season, but he’ll be ready for the competition and eager to drive this team forward up top. Andrew has proven to be a consistent playmaking midfielder at the Championship level and I believe that his game is about to take off.”
The Battery also announced Joe Kuzminsky, Patrick Hogan, Matt Sheldon, DZ Harmon, Caden Theobald, Joel Bunting, Alexander Dexter, Burke Fahling had entered free agency, while the club declined contract options on Brett St. Martin, Dominic Oduro, Romario Piggott, Geobel Perez Jr., Preston Kilwien, Mauro Cichero, Enock Kwakwa, Daniel Kuzemka and Nicque Daley.