Charleston, SC – Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be making a first ever visit to the Carolina Challenge Cup next month and head coach Martin Rennie has been busy fine-tuning his squad in advance of the tournament. Rennie is no stranger to the Charleston Battery and Blackbaud Stadium having coached against the Battery during his time with the Carolina RailHawks. Whitecaps FC also played against the Battery while both were members of the United Soccer Leagues First Division from 1997 to 2009.
Vancouver bolstered their defensive options last week with the acquisition of defender Brad Rusin. Rusin, 26, joins Whitecaps FC after spending the past year-and-a-half with HB Køge following their promotion to the Danish Superliga in 2011 and continuing into their 2012-13 season in the Danish First Division. The Crown Point, Indiana, native played a total of 38 matches in Denmark and contributed offensively with three goals.
Prior to his time in Europe, the 6-foot-4 centre back played two-plus seasons under Rennie at Carolina RailHawks. Rusin – who was named team captain during the 2011 season – appeared in 54 matches and scored two goals for the RailHawks in the North American second division.
Andy O’Brien training with Bolton Wanderers during off-season
Following an impressive debut with Vancouver Whitecaps FC after joining the club late in the 2012 season, centre back Andy O’Brien wanted to stay fit and in-form during the off-season. To do this O’Brien, a Republic of Ireland international, returned to his former club, English npower Championship side Bolton Wanderers, for a one-month training spell.
Whitecaps FC head coach Martin Rennie hopes that this training period will be extremely positive for the ‘Caps centre back.
“Andy has a history with Bolton, having played with them in the past, and he has a home nearby, so it made sense for him to train with them during the off-season to keep in shape,” said Rennie. “He played great for us down the stretch last season, so for him to keep fit, keep sharp, and keep the momentum going will be really good for him and for our team as we head into preseason this year.”
O’Brien appeared in nearly 90 matches during his time with Bolton, which lasted from 2007 until 2011. O’Brien was a member of the then EPL Bolton Wanderer’s side that defeated the Charleston Battery 2-0 in a 2010 summer exhibition match.
For more news about Vancouver Whitecaps FC please visit http://www.whitecapsfc.com.
Carolina Challenge Cup tickets
The Carolina Challenge Cup is the premier pre-season tournament in the US. Each year for the past decade the Battery has been joined by three teams from Major League Soccer for the round-robin competition. Single day tickets (includes two games) start at just $15; for more information or to purchase tickets please call (843) 971-GOAL (4625) or visit www.charlestonbattery.com.
2013 Carolina Challenge Cup tournament schedule
Saturday, February 16
Chicago Fire vs. Houston Dynamo, 5 PM
Charleston Battery vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 7:15 PM
Wednesday, February 20
Houston Dynamo vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5 PM
Charleston Battery vs. Chicago Fire, 7:15 PM
Saturday, Feb 23
Chicago Fire vs. Vancouver Whitecaps FC, 5 PM
Charleston Battery vs. Houston Dynamo, 7:15 PM