Fidel Barajas (center) and Nick Markanich are among the 10 players set to return to the Charleston Battery for the 2024 season after having contract options exercised. | Photo courtesy Michael Wiser / Charleston Battery
CHARLESTON, S.C. – The Charleston Battery announced Thursday the slate of initial roster moves heading into the 2024 season, highlighted by the return of 10 players from the 2023 Eastern Conference-winning squad.
The club has exercised contract options on seven players, including goalkeepers Trey Muse and Daniel Kuzemka, defender Juan Sebastián Palma, midfielders Fidel Barajas, Robbie Crawford, Arturo Rodriguez, and forward Nick Markanich.
Midfielders Chris Allan and Emilio Ycaza and forward Tristan Trager were previously under contract for the 2024 season.
“We are very excited about our returning group of players for the future of this amazing club,” said Battery Head Coach Ben Pirmann. “These players are not only excellent footballers on the pitch, but they are even better people off it. This core group of players can help push us to do even greater things in 2024.”
The club has declined contract options on Andrew Booth, AJ Paterson, Jesse Randall and Pierre Reedy, and agreed a contract termination with Deklan Wynne.
Currently, Aidan Apodaca, Leland Archer, Handwalla Bwana, Derek Dodson, Joe Schmidt, Mark Segbers and Augustine Williams are out of contract.
The Battery will bring back a good collection of players from their remarkable run to the 2023 USL Championship Final, including 2023 Championship Young Player of the Year Fidel Barajas and others like Nick Markanich and Arturo Rodriguez who had major impacts in the attacking third. Retaining Trey Muse after his best season so far in the league is also a solid piece to have back in the fold.
The questions now for the Battery will be which players they see having a place in the lineup moving forward, or where the club can recruit to upgrade across the three levels of the outfield. As aggressive as Charleston was this past offseason to facilitate its turnaround, it’s unlikely to take a step back in pushing to be a serious contender once again in 2024.
Current 2024 Charleston Battery Squad
Goalkeepers (2): Trey Muse, Daniel Kuzemka
Defenders (1): Juan Sebastián Palma
Midfielders (5): Chris Allan, Fidel Barajas, Robbie Crawford, Arturo Rodriguez, Emilio Ycaza
Forwards (2): Nick Markanich, Tristan Trager