After a five-year absence, the English Premier League will return to the Lowcountry.
The Charleston Battery will face the EPL’s West Bromwich Albion Football Club in a friendly match on July 17 at Blackbaud Stadium.
Charleston last took on an EPL squad back in 2010 when the Bolton Wanderers F.C. defeated the Battery, 2-0, before a sellout crowd of more than 5,200 at Blackbaud Stadium.
Charleston Battery president Andrew Bell said the team isn’t able to confirm the Baggies are coming to the Lowcountry, but a release by the EPL team listed a match against the Battery as part of a 10-day, three-game U.S. tour.
“We’re excited about the potential to have an EPL team return to the Lowcountry,” Bell said. “We usually make space for such a game within our schedule. As soon as something is finalized, we’ll be able to comment on it officially.
“Obviously, having a team from English Premier League return to Charleston is something the entire community can get excited about. Our match with Bolton in 2010 was a tremendous success.”
According to the team’s website, West Brom will face Major League Soccer’s Orlando City SC on July 15 before taking on the Battery two days later. The EPL club will wrap up its tour with a match against the USL’s Richmond Kickers on July 19.
This will be the fourth time since 2004 that the Battery has played a friendly match against a professional team from England. The Battery took on Sunderland A.F.C. (2004), Bolton F.C. (2010) and Portsmouth F.C. (2011). Sunderland and Portsmouth were members of the English’s Championship league at the time.
West Brom is currently in 13th place in the 20-team EPL with a 9-15-10 record (37 points).
“We’re going to the States because the opposition is strong, but also because the players will have to work in heat and humidity, which will make it more beneficial for their fitness,” said West Brom manager Tony Pulis. “Orlando will be an especially tough game for us. We played them when I was with Stoke, but they’ve now become an MLS side so they play to a very high standard themselves.”