Nicki Paterson was starting to become a real problem for Charleston Battery coach Mike Anhaeuser.
For the last seasons -- two years ago in Harrisburg and last summer with Real Maryland -- Paterson had the annoying habit of always being in the right place at the right time at both ends of the field. His work rate was also among the league's best.
And he was smart.
"Nicki always seemed to have that little something extra when he played against us," Anhaeuser said. "He worked extremely hard every minute he was on the field, and he had a bit of quality that kind of separated him from other guys. Defensively, he was very smart, and offensively he was getting into the box and running and doing the things that I like in a player."
Anhaeuser decided to do something with Paterson this year. It was time to get him into a Battery uniform.
"You see guys around the league and you come to respect what they do on the field," Anhaeuser said. "Nicki was one of those guys for me. I knew he was capable of coming in here and having an impact on our club. I think in the end, I got tired of seeing him in another uniform. That's why I went after him when he became available."
Paterson couldn't be happier about Anhaeuser's decision.
"I always loved coming and playing against the Battery," Paterson said. "In my opinion, this is the best club in the league, the best organization, the most professional, and on top of that they've got a great group of guys. I felt like if I could pick one team in the USL Pro division, it would be Charleston."
Paterson was already familiar with some of the guys on the team. He and former Battery striker Lamar Neagle -- the 2010 USL Second Division MVP -- had been best friends when they played together at UNLV. He was also friends with current Charleston defenders Mike Zaher and Colin Falvey.
As a result, Paterson has had an almost seamless transition into a Battery uniform.
"From the first day I got here, I feel like I'd been a part of this team for years," Paterson said. "I feel like a veteran because of all the familiar faces. It didn't take me very long to get used to playing with everyone. They make it easy for new guys to come in and fit in."
Paterson certainly hasn't disappointed on the field. The native of Lanark, Scotland, leads the team in scoring (6 points), goals (2) and assists (2). He also has gained a reputation as one of the most dangerous players on set pieces.
"He hit an absolute screamer against Charlotte," Anhaeuser said. "The keeper had no chance, and that's the kind of quality that he brings to set pieces."
Paterson has spent most of his career in the center midfield, but with plenty of depth in the middle of the field, Anhaeuser moved him to the right wing.
"I originally brought him in to be a center midfielder," Anhaeuser said. "But we had five or six guys that could play in the middle of the field, so I decided to put him on the wing. He has such good service into the box that I needed to get him on the field. He's been everything we thought he'd be and then some."