ST JOHN’S, Antigua – At least one of the country’s two professional footballers that signed with teams playing in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) PRO division last season will not be plying his trade in the competition this year.
Reports are indicating that while national mid-fielder Quinton Griffith is set to leave for the USA within the next two weeks for duties with Charleston Battery FC, national striker Stephan Smith will not return to Charlotte Eagles.
The franchise, according to the charlotteobserver.com sports pages, is in the process of being sold to Hounds group for an estimated US $500,000.
Although no names appear on the team’s 2014 roster to date, sources close to the player confirmed that the LIME Old Road player would not be picked up for a second year by the US club.
Eagles FC have been Charlotte’s lone pro soccer presence since 1993 and will play one final season in USL PRO this summer at the Queens Sports Complex before moving down a notch to the USL’s Premiere Development League in 2015.
The franchise is a faith-based organisation that has won two USL titles and played in the championship game last season. But they have never had a stadium of their own and struggle to attract a large fan base.
Smith signed with Eagles last season after having played with Antigua Barracuda FC for two seasons in the USL.
Barracuda has since indicated they would not compete in this year’s competition largely due to financial constraints.
Griffith, on the other hand, is poised to leave for Charleston in a matter of weeks where he will join team-mates in the Battery camp.
The player, who signed a two-year contract in 2013, is one of 22 names already appearing on the Battery roster.
Griffith is currently leading his local club, Urlings, in their quest for promotion to Harney Motors Premier Division.