Whitecaps enter affiliate partnership with USL Pro’s Battery

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By FRANCO PANIZO

The Vancouver Whitecaps are the latest MLS team to find a USL Pro affiliate.

The Whitecaps announced Thursday that they have reached an agreement to make USL Pro club Charleston Battery their affiliate partner for the 2014 season. The deal means Vancouver will loan a minimum of four players from its MLS roster to the Battery and will not partake in the MLS Reserve League.

“The Battery are a well-respected club with a tradition of success on and off the pitch,” said Whitecaps FC president Bob Lenarduzzi in a statement. “We have a long-standing relationship with the Battery’s president Andrew Bell, dating back to our days in the USL First Division, and we are excited to formalize an official partnership.

“This affiliation will greatly benefit the development of our younger players by providing an opportunity for them receive more minutes in a professional environment and as a result it will help with player transition from our Residency and U-23 programs into the first team.”

The Whitecaps are the latest MLS team to enter an affiliate partnership. The Portland Timbers and San Jose Earthquakes both struck deals with USL Pro expansion club Sacramento Republic earlier on Thursday, and Toronto FC announced that their affiliate club was the Wilmington Hammerheads on Wednesday.

Several other MLS clubs currently have affiliate partners, including reigning champions Sporting Kansas City (Orlando City, Oklahoma City Energy), the Philadelphia Union (Harrisburg City Islanders), D.C. United (Richmond Kickers), and Columbus Crew (Dayton Dutch Lions).

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What do you think of the Whitecaps entering a partnership with the Battery? Wishing Vancouver would have picked a club closer to home? Which players would you like to see loaned to Charleston?

Share your thoughts below.

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8 Responses to Whitecaps enter affiliate partnership with USL Pro’s Battery

  1. timothy says:

    It’s interesting that the Canadian teams are partnering up with American USL teams. You would think they would prefer to keep it in Canada for visa/work permit reasons. Or at least to develop the Canadian player

    • CSD says:

      There are not any USL Pro team in Canada. You would think they would try get closer than an 8 hour flight as a location to develop their players.

      • Sam says:

        This is true. But I guess it’s no coincidence that both Toronto and Vancouver chose cities that are, relatively speaking, close enough to each other for a rivalry…

  2. CSD says:

    I guess it is closer than Antiqua.

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  4. RK says:

    What an awful idea — at least you could partner with someone a little bit closer.

  5. Rufus Firefly says:

    Clearly the commenters have no earthly idea about the Charleston Battery. The Battery are a well-established club that plays at its own stadium (Blackbaud) which is a little gem that seats about 5000 people on Daniel Island just north of downtown Charleston. The purpose of these affiliations is for MLS teams to send younger players to teams where they will get minutes and develop. Charleston has consistently fielded competitive teams in USL so Vancouver should expect its loaned players to develop appropriately.