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Charleston Battery Sign Defected Cuban Star Ariel Martinez

Cuban National Team star Ariel Martinez has signed with the Charleston Battery after defecting in July.

Sam Sharpe-USA TODAY Sports

After defecting from the Cuban National Team during the CONCACAF Gold Cup in July, striker Ariel Martinez officially joined the Charleston Battery Wednesday. Ariel was considered the top international talent on the Cuban roster and has dazzled in his 50+ caps with his creative runs and scoring prowess, including a hat trick against Belize in the 2013 Gold Cup. He was the fourth player to defect from the club during this year's Gold Cup.

Martinez has been training with the club for over a month and according to some of his teammates has looked great. Unfortunately for Richmond and the rest of the USL, Martinez is immediately eligible for selection, as soon as Saturday's first round match hosting the Kickers. Adding a player of Martinez's talent is sure to improve the Battery attack immediately and will help compensate for the injury to reserve forward fellow Cuban international Heviel Cordoves. Now with Ariel on the roster, the Cuban international players tally 4 - Maikel Chang, Odisnel Cooper, Cordoves and Martinez. While he is sure to draw a ton of interest across the MLS, Martinez is happy to be with Charleston for now, whom he describes as a "great team, very compact" according to the Charleston Battery's official press release.