The Charleston Battery have signed New Zealand youth international Jesse Randall, who is currently competing for the country's U-23 squad as it prepares for 2024 Oceania Olympic Qualifying later this year. | Photo courtesy New Zealand Football Federation
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery announced on Wednesday the club had signed New Zealand youth international forward Jesse Randall. The transaction is pending league and federation approval.
Randall is currently with the New Zealand U-23 national team for a pair of friendlies against China’s youth squad on March 23 and 26. Considered a rising star within New Zealand football, he will join the Battery following the fixtures. Randall will become teammates with fellow Kiwi Deklan Wynne in Charleston, who is with the senior national team for friendlies against China on the same days.
“I was looking to make the next step in my career and Charleston presented me with a great opportunity,” said Randall. “It’s a dynamic club in a great location and I’m looking forward to learning more about my new teammates and the city.
“I’m excited about the attacking, modern style of football that Charleston are looking to play and working with like-minded players. Playing at Patriots Point in the USL Championship will be a new and exciting experience, I’m hoping to develop my game by learning alongside a talented group of players.”
The 20-year-old has played the past four seasons in New Zealand’s top-flight, most recently with Wellington Olympic AFC. Randal has scored 34 goals and added 14 assists across 52 matches in that time. He also played for clubs North Wellington FC, Hawke’s Bay United and Tasman United.
Randall’s move to Charleston isn’t his first foray into American soccer as he played one year at Northern Kentucky University. He was named the Horizon League’s Freshman of the Year after recording 10 goals and five assists in 17 appearances.
Describing Randall as quick and crafty, Battery Head Coach Ben Pirmann is excited about adding the forward to the team.
“Jesse is a striker that we have tracked for some time now,” said Pirmann. “He has shown his ability in the U.S., in New Zealand's professional league and with the national team that he can be a stand-out goalscorer.
“Jesse is a player with pace, he wants to be direct in his actions and can impact the final third by creating and finishing chances. He will provide a unique skill set for our attacking group with his ability to get in behind defenders, take players on with the dribble and through in his goal involvements.”
On the international stage, Randall represented New Zealand in the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup in Brazil, featuring in all three of their matches. In all competitions, he made six appearances and scored one goal with the U-17 squad. His return to the national team comes on the heels of his success at the club level, where he was among the New Zealand National League’s top scorers in 2022.
Randall is looking forward to the next chapter of his career in Charleston.
“I’ve spent some time playing soccer in the U.S. before and that experience should help me in this new journey and adapt quickly to life in Charleston,” said Randall. “Having Deklan there too will be awesome. Knowing I have a fellow Kiwi to talk with will make a big difference.”