A staple of preseason soccer since 2004, the Carolina Challenge Cup will be on, what is hopefully, only a one year hiatus in 2016. After being unable to secure deals with three MLS clubs, the Battery front office decided it was best to cancel the yearly event, rather than put out a less than average field. Two teams that were close to coming to deals, the Seattle Sounder and D.C. United, both qualified for the CONCACAF Champions League, which runs at the same time.
The four teams each year, excluding the 2004 inaugural run, consisted of the hometown Charleston Battery of the USL, and 3 MLS clubs in a round robin tournament. The MLS field over the years has included the Columbus Crew SC , D.C. United, Toronto FC, San Jose Earthquakes, Real Salt Lake, Vancouver Whitecaps, Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders, New York City FC, Orlando City , and your own, Houston Dynamo. The most successful club has been D.C., as they have won 4 titles in the 11 years of its existence. The cancellation of this year's tournament is especially disappointing, following a 2015 version that may have been the most anticipated ever, with David Villa and Kaka both appearing in Charleston ahead of their first MLS campaigns, selling out both nights shortly after tickets went on sale. Last year's Cup also allowed Battery supporters the chance to see their 2015 MLS affiliate, Houston Dynamo, up close, including eventual loanee Memo Rodriguez.
The CCC provides the incredibly devoted soccer fans in and around Charleston an opportunity to see MLS soccer right in their very own MUSC Health Stadium. It's led to legends, such as the 2015 Lightning goal, the creation of the Coffee Pot Cup between DC and Charleston and many more memories for fans young and old. The front office has said they are already in talks to nail down the field for the 2017 CCC. Also, according to its press release, the Battery are still discussing bringing an MLS side or two down for a preseason friendly this year, but none of those discussions have materialized yet. So every indication confirms that this will only be a one year disappearance of the tournament, which is great news for Charleston soccer supporters.