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Offline Tallman

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Leland Archer Thread
« on: May 10, 2018, 01:02:57 PM »
Charleston Battery signs former Trinidad and Tobago Youth International, Leland Archer
By Sarah Cardamone (charlestonbattery.com)


The Charleston Battery has signed former College of Charleston standout Leland Archer for the 2018 season, pending USL and USSF approval.

Prior to joining the Battery, Archer played four years at the College of Charleston where he collected several All-Conference accolades, including CAA Defensive Player of the Year in 2017. Archer logged over 6,000 minutes for the Cougars and was one of the CAA’s most dominant defenders throughout his collegiate career. In addition to his impressive defensive play, Archer finished as the team’s leading scorer during his final season at The College.

“Leland was an amazing student-athlete for us during his four years,” said College of Charleston Head Coach Ralph Lundy. “We are so happy that he has signed for the Charleston Battery.  They are incredible club and constantly compete for championships. He will be a great addition and we look forward to seeing him grow at the professional level.”

During high school, Archer attended Fatima College in his native Trinidad where he won North Zone InterCol championship in 2013 and played his way into the Trinidad and Tobago U-17 National Team.

Archer joins fellow Cougar alum, Nico Rittmeyer, on the Battery’s 2018 squad. The College of Charleston has produced several players for the Battery over the last decade. During his 14 seasons as Head Coach and General Manager, Mike Anhaeuser has consistently signed players from the local college including Zach Prince and Shawn Ferguson who both made more than 100 appearances for the Club during their careers.

Player Bio:

Name: Leland Archer
Position: D
Height: 6-4
Date of Birth: January 8, 1996
Age: 22
Hometown: Port of Spain, Trinidad
Country: Trinidad and Tobago
College: College of Charleston
How acquired: Signed in May of 2018
« Last Edit: November 08, 2020, 10:17:15 AM by Tallman »
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #1 on: September 27, 2018, 12:48:34 PM »
Beyond the Touchline: An interview with Battery defender Leland Archer
By Drew Bartow (soccernsweettea.com)


Soccer ’n’ Sweet Tea goes one-on-one with one of the Battery’s youngest and newest players.

After a stellar collegiate career with the College of Charleston, defender Leland Archer joined the Charleston Battery earlier this year and bolstered a consistently great defensive back line. The 22-year-old has fit right in.

On appearance alone, the 6'4" defender is the epitome of what a defender should be: tall and built like brick wall. The former team captain for the College of Charleston, located just a few miles down the road from MUSC Health Stadium, was the CAA Defender of the Year for 2017 and joins fellow CofC alumni Nico Rittmeyer on the squad.

Archer, born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, played for the Trinidad and Tobago U17 and U20 National Teams and joins fellow Soca Warriors Ataulla Guerra, Neveal Hackshaw, and Skylar Thomas.

Having started eight matches since his mid-May signing and having played in nine, Archer has been splitting his playing time with Thomas, another towering defender at 6'5".

But Archer has been highly impressive and effective on the pitch, especially considering he is just 22 years old and on his first professional contract. He is the second-youngest player on the roster, next to Patrick Okonkwo, the Atlanta United loaned player who just turned 19.

Archers’ stat line for his first 11 appearances, where has started 10 with 929 minutes played:

403 passes, 74.4 percent passing accuracy, 52 clearances, 2 blocks, 15 interceptions, 14 tackles, 42 duels won, 22 aerial duels won.

For this week’s Beyond the Touchline interview, we sat down with Leland to see how soccer is different with the Charleston Battery.

Hey Leland, thanks for joining us. You were born in Trinidad and played on the Trinidad and Tobago U17 and U20 National Teams. How did you choose the College of Charleston?
Coach [Ralph] Lundy came out to watch me play when I was playing for the Trinidad U17 National Team. He liked what he saw and offered me a scholarship, and that is how I came to the College of Charleston.

After a very successful collegiate career, you played in 14 matches with Tormenta FC of the PDL. How did that help you prepare of coming to play for the Battery? What do you want to bring to the pitch on match day?
Tormenta is a great organization so they definitely helped me by allowing me to play over the summer. I bring good qualities defensively, and I am also good at passing the ball, so that helps the team on match days as well.

How is playing with veterans like Ataulla, OB, Taylor, Tah and Neveal helped your game play?
Obviously they are great players and they help me improve my game everyday. Ataulla, especially, has been helping me along in the process of becoming a professional and it has been fun.

I have learned that some players have superstitions and pre-game / post-game rituals, do you have any of those?
Not really. But I usually do not shower to close to game time. And I like to listen to Soca before matches.

(Editors Note: Soca music originated in Trinidad and Tobago is an offshoot of kaiso/calypso, with influences from chutney, cadence, funk and soul.)

What was the most influential piece of advice someone has given you?
To not think so much about what is going on outside and just focus on soccer. Then I can do my job the right way.

For the youth that are playing in local clubs and academies, what advice would you give them that you wish someone told you when you were in say U10; U13?
If you want to become a professional soccer player, keep working hard. You never know when an opportunity will come up, so keep working hard.

Thanks Leland, and good luck in the remainder of the season. Here’s to hopefully seeing you in your first professional playoff game at home in October.
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Offline maxg

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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2018, 02:06:44 PM »
Couple btw observations. No real conclusions here   ;D

Archer started at Right Back that Last Game, Guerra, striker, when Hacksaw (left back) came off the bench and provided assist in 88th minute. Guerra was already subbed off. They both(defenders) started in previous, however Guerra was out of lineup.

Guerra hasn't scored in last 5 outings with club, but scored for country last game this month. Was eventually replaced by Hacksaw (defensive tactic).

Starting defensive backs were Aubrey David and ????.

J. Hoyte have started the last 5 games as Right Back for Conference leading FC Cincinnati on 72 points to second place(Pitt) 56 (Goals against -31)

3rd place Louisville Goals against is 5th with Ranjit (GA- 35), 2nd in GD. Marvin Phillip started and won TT last game. However his club stats for TT Pro league cannot be accurately compared. Both Guerra and Hacksaw scored on Ranjit in their meeting on 14th July.

Aprox. 3 games left for league season.

Offline Tallman

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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #3 on: September 27, 2018, 02:13:00 PM »
Guerra hasn't scored in last 5 outings with club, but scored for country last game this month. Was eventually replaced by Hacksaw (defensive tactic).

Actually he hasn't scored in the last 2 outings. He missed three matches because he was suspended for a red card.
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Offline maxg

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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #4 on: September 27, 2018, 03:19:31 PM »
Guerra hasn't scored in last 5 outings with club, but scored for country last game this month. Was eventually replaced by Hacksaw (defensive tactic).

Actually he hasn't scored in the last 2 outings. He missed three matches because he was suspended for a red card.
noted

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Leland Archer named to USL Team of the Week
« Reply #5 on: April 09, 2019, 06:39:26 PM »
Leland Archer named to USL Team of the Week
By Evan Peters (charlestonbattery.com)


Battery defender Leland Archer has been named to the USL Team of the Week following the Battery's 2-0 win over Charlotte Independence this past Sunday.

Archer played a pivotal role in the shutout win making nine clearances and winning seven duels. The former College of Charleston standout tallied two interceptions and six recoveries on the day on his way to Man of the Match honors.

The Team of the Week honor is the first of Archer's career joining teammate Zeiko Lewis who was awarded a reserve role in the Week 2 Team of the Week.

The Battery are on the road this weekend against Bethlehem Steel FC and return home on April 20th to face Nashville SC for 90's night which includes $9 tickets, a vintage car show, the best 90's music, and fireworks after the match!

Tickets are available for purchase at tickets.charlestonbattery.com or by calling (843) 971-GOAL.
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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 09:39:54 AM »
Former College of Charleston star, Leland Archer, goes from frustrated rookie to team leader with Charleston Battery
By Andrew Miller (The Post and Courier)


Leland Archer is used to being on the soccer field.

At College of Charleston, the lanky, middle defender ate up minutes, logging more than 6,000 during his four-year career with the Cougars. He was an ironman, a fixture in the Cougars’ starting lineup and rarely took a seat on the bench next to his teammates and coaches.

So it was tough for Archer, a native of Port of Spain, Trinidad, to watch from the sidelines during his rookie season with the Charleston Battery. In 2018, the club had a veteran defensive core – led by former Battery captain Taylor Mueller – as the back four defenders averaged more than four years of professional experience.

As good as Archer was, there just wasn’t going to be many opportunities for the talented former Colonial Athletic Association defender of the year. Charleston coach Mike Anhaeuser assured Archer that if he remained patient and worked on his craft, his time would come.

That time is now.

Archer is expected to be in the starting lineup Saturday night when the Battery faces Atlanta United 2 at Ralph Lundy Field at Patriots Point. No fans will be allowed to attend the 8 p.m. game due to the coronavirus pandemic, but they can watch on ESPN+.

After playing sparingly in his rookie campaign and then missing a large chunk of the 2019 season with an injury, Archer, 24, is back where he’s most comfortable, anchoring a defense looking to make the postseason.

“Leland was like a lot of rookies when we signed him. He was the guy on his college team,” Anhaeuser said. “We knew he had the ability to play at the professional level. It was just going to take some time for him to make that move from college to the pros. Every player has to go through it.”

When Archer arrived at the Battery two years ago, the defensive back four featured – Mueller, Jarad van Shaick and O’Brian Woodbine – who combined, had more than two decades of professional experience under their collective belts. Archer played in 13 matches his first season, starting 12 times, but it was a far cry from what he was used to in college.

“My rookie year was frustrating, I wasn’t getting on the field as much as I’d hoped,” Archer said. “I was used to being one of the leaders on my team and getting a lot of minutes. I think that’s where my family played a big role in that transition. They supported me. The older guys helped me get through that phase of my transition from college to the Battery.”

Archer didn’t pout. He listened and learned, taking in as much information as he could from the veteran players.

“He was like a sponge soaking in all the information,” Mueller said.

Last summer, Archer was starting to establish himself in the Battery’s starting 11 – making 18 appearances – but an undisclosed injury against Pittsburgh cut his season short.

Archer returned in 2020 determined to become one of the team’s leaders. He has been a game captain during the season and helped organize the Battery’s back four defenders.

“Leland is having to take on more of a leadership role for us in the back,” Anhaeuser said. “You want all of your back four to be leaders because they are organizing in the back and the midfield. I think Leland’s very comfortable in that role. He’s made tremendous growth with his understanding of what it takes to be successful at this level.”

Flanked by two rookies – Deshaun Nembhard and Rennico Clark – Archer has become the elder statesmen, the guy  the young players turn to for advice on and off the field.

Archer’s size and speed – 6-4 and nearly 200 pounds – should help him climb the ranks in pro soccer.

“Leland has size and athletic ability to play at a higher level,” Anhaeuser said. “He can run with almost every forward in our league and he’s becoming a dominant defender.”

The Battery’s roster has gone through almost a complete makeover, and most of the current players have less than three years of professional experience. Anhaeuser knew there would be growing pains early in the season as the players got used to his systems. The four-month hiatus due to the pandemic might have actually helped the team’s chemistry.

“The youth on our team has a very good vibe about it,” Anhaeuser said. “The younger guys are eager, always pushing forward and we’ve got a good mixture of veteran guys. We’re getting better. I think we’ve started to find our rhythm as a team and I knew that would take time with so many new faces.”
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Offline Tallman

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Re: Charleston Battery signs Leland Archer
« Reply #7 on: October 27, 2020, 11:17:46 AM »
WATCH: Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer talks about his journey from Trinidad and Tobago to Charleston, South Carolina and playing professional in the USL Championship. He also expresses his desire to represent the national senior team.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/XOg_0qxoi7M?start=733" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/XOg_0qxoi7M?start=733</a>
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Offline Tallman

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Leland Archer named to USL All-League Second Team
« Reply #8 on: October 29, 2020, 11:38:16 AM »
Leland Archer named to USL All-League Second Team
Charleston Battery Staff


After a strong season leading the Battery back line, Leland Archer was named to the USL Championship's All-League Second Team as a defender.

The College of Charleston alum logged 1,530 minutes in his third season for the Black and Yellow this year. He was the lone Battery player to start all 17 games in 2020. As part of a solid defensive unit this season, Archer led the back line with 16 blocks and 77 duels won while providing 23 interceptions, second only to Jarad van Schaik.

It was a successful season for Leland as he and van Schaik consistently provided stability as center backs, helping support Battery netminders Phil Breno and Joe Kuzminsky in their 6 combined clean sheets this year.

After his first All-League team nod in the USL Championship, it'll be an exciting offseason as Archer and the Battery look to build on a successful 2020 that saw the Black and Yellow play in their first conference semifinal since 2016. Congratulations Leland!
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #9 on: November 10, 2020, 01:02:00 PM »
Having already arrived in Edinburgh, Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer will train with Scottish Premiership club, Hibernian FC, following a two-week period of quarantine.
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Leland Archer aiming to win dream deal with Hibs
« Reply #10 on: November 19, 2020, 02:18:54 PM »
Leland Archer aiming to win dream deal with Hibs after Charleston Battery link-up
By Alan Temple (deadlinenews.co.uk)


HIBS hopeful Leland Archer has joked that ex-Rangers ace Robbie Crawford is serving as his translator as the towering defender attempts to land a deal at Easter Road.

Archer, 24, is on trial with the capital club as part of their new partnership with United Soccer League (USL) outfit Charleston Battery.

The former Trinidad and Tobago under-20 internationalist finally arrived at the Hibernian Training Centre this week after completing his period of isolation.

Battery star Crawford, who enjoyed spells with Morton, Alloa and Raith before crossing the pond in February, has also linked up with the Hibees as he maintains his fitness ahead of the 2021 USL campaign.

And Archer hopes Crawford can act as a tour guide and help him get used to the Scottish twang.

“Robbie can help me settle and hopefully he can show me around the city a little bit,” said the 6ft4ins centre-half. “Plus they talk a little faster over here, so maybe he can help me with the accent!

“No, I’m really excited to show what I can do here and felt like this was an opportunity I had to grab.

“I didn’t know this would be a possibility when the [Charleston] season ended and had a slight vacation – but as soon as I heard about this chance, I got straight back into my playing mindset!

“It’s just been a case of getting used to the time difference – five hours ahead – and catching up with the sleeping pattern, in preparation.”

FC Dallas youngster Thomas Roberts is another trialist aiming to land a contract with Jack Ross’ side in the coming weeks, with Ron Gordon’s connections in the States starting to bear fruit.

And Archer knows a switch to Scotland could provide a launchpad for the rest of his career.

“Scotland is a good league and a lot of excellent players start their careers there before moving to the English Premier League or other countries in Europe,” Archer continued. “The level is very good.

“I looked at how Hibs were doing this season and saw they were in fourth position, with some good teams ahead of them, so I know how high the standard will be.”

The transatlantic link-up will see the sides collaborate on scouting, player development and operational matters and, as well as players from the States trying their luck in Scotland, it is expected that several Hibs kids will be afforded the opportunity to head to Charleston on loan.

Archer told The Leagues: World Soccer Podcast: “The partnership is huge for the future of the club and I would imagine Charleston will get some good players in return to help them out as well as players like myself getting the opportunity to go to Edinburgh.

“It can only be good for the long-term future of the club.”
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Leland Archer talks about time with Hibernian FC
« Reply #11 on: November 24, 2020, 08:02:31 PM »
Leland Archer talks about time with Hibernian FC
By John Barron (counton2.com)


Charleston Battery Defender and former College of Charleston Cougar, Leland Archer, is currently spending time with Scottish Premiership Hibernian FC.

After the team announced their new partnership with the club two weeks ago, both Archer and Robbie Crawford have spent the past week with the team.

Archer took some time to talk about his experience with the team in an interview with News 2 Sports.

“Yeah I think the level of competition is definitely a little better here,” said Leland Archer. ” In the sense that they play a lot quicker and a lot more physical. Different style from playing in America. Yeah, I think definately a good opportunity for me to possibly be on this team. I’ll have to play well. The city is beautiful actually. There’s actually a lot of greenery in the main city of Edinburgh. It reminds me of back home and kind of makes it like Charleston and back home so it’s nice.”
« Last Edit: November 24, 2020, 08:40:24 PM by Tallman »
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #12 on: November 27, 2020, 08:45:17 AM »
Charleston Battery chief on Hibs trialist as ex-Rangers and Bayern Munich youngsters join training
By James Delaney (Edinburgh Live)


Charleston Battery duo Leland Archer and Robbie Crawford have joined former Bayern Munich trainee Thomas Roberts in Hibernian training after emerging from a period in quarantine as they bid to impress Jack Ross at East Mains.

Trinidadian defender Archer and ex-Rangers midfielder Crawford are the first two players to arrive in the Capital after the Leith outfit inked a 'strategic partnership' with USL side Battery that will see talent exchanged between the two clubs.

Tricky midfielder Roberts meanwhile is among the inaugural young stars scouted by the Hibees' American-based technical scout Ian Gordon, son of owner Ron, as part of his new role at the club.

The trio were placed in quarantine after jetting in from the US in line with the latest coronavirus protocols, with Ross and his coaching staff getting a first look at them on the training pitch.

Battery COO Mike Kelleher admitted he was optimistic the South Carolina-based pair would catch the eye of Ross, tipping towering defender Archer to make an impression.

He told Edinburgh Live: "Leland is a big, strong, powerful centre back, he's had a fantastic season. He was our player of the season and made the the all-league second team, so you are talking about a guy who is one of the top players in the division.

"He is on the cusp of the Trinidad and Tobago national team, which is fantastic for him, but let's see how he gets on."

Kelleher added: "It will be interesting to see how they do. Should either of them get a contract, that's wonderful, if they don't, we would love to get a bit of feedback from Hibs as to where we are where they are as players, if we need to start them a little bit further down the pyramid, is there another opportunity with another club in Scotland, in Europe even that we can explore to get that first foot in the door."

Crawford played 45 times for Rangers after coming through the Ibrox academy and gained loan experience at Greenock Morton and Alloa Athletic before arriving in Charleston after spells in Finland and Iceland.

He also became the first male Scottish player to sign up to the Common Goal pledge before being joined by Hibs defender Ryan Porteous earlier this year.

FC Dallas midfielder Roberts, 19, trained with European champions Bayern last year after impressing during his initial trial and later spent time with fellow Bundesliga side Augsburg before returning to star with the MLS side's second-string North Texas SC.

Hibs face Dundee at Easter Road this weekend as they bid to reach the last eight of the Betfred Cup.
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #13 on: December 14, 2020, 08:01:00 PM »
Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer speaks about first few weeks training with Hibs
By Patrick McPartlin (Edinburgh News)


Speaking to Christian Michner, Director of Coaching at the South Carolina club, in a question and answer video session on Instagram the Trinidadian defender talked acclimatising, training sessions, and Easter Road.

Archer said: "I've been training with the team the past few weeks and it's been going well.

"I've been here for just over a month; quarantine was probably the worst part of the experience because we were inside for two weeks but luckily I had Thomas Roberts [FC Dallas midfielder also on trial at Hibs] with me so it wasn't too bad. We played a lot of Call of Duty.”

Once the quarantine period was complete Archer, Roberts, and Archer’s Battery team-mate Robbie Crawford, formerly of Rangers, joined up with the first-team squad at East Mains where they have been taking part in training – whatever the weather.

Archer continued: “When I left Charleston it was still sunny and 70 degrees but over time I think I've got used to the climate in Scotland.

"Training hasn't been too bad in terms of the weather but acclimatising has certainly been the biggest change. There's been two or three days of snow – I'd only seen snow once before, so that’s been a bit different.

"The training sessions are a little more intense at Hibs. They demand more from you, compared to at Charleston Battery. Some sessions are definitely tougher than others, but it's been good.

"Training starts at 10.30am for one hour and a half, two hours. Sometimes less, if Hibs have a game the next day.

"Having Robbie here helps a lot. Sometimes I go to practice with him, and he has made settling in a lot easier."

The 24-year-old has also been impressed by the stadium, which he admitted was on a different level to Charleston’s 3,000-capacity ground at Mount Pleasant’s Patriots Point Soccer Complex.

Archer continued: “I haven't been able to attend any away games but I've been to two home games. They have a beautiful stadium down at Easter Road, it's nice.”
« Last Edit: December 23, 2020, 06:50:44 PM by Tallman »
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Archer's sights set on 2021 with return to Charleston Battery
« Reply #14 on: December 23, 2020, 06:50:27 PM »
Archer's sights set on 2021 with return to Charleston Battery
By Charleston Battery Staff


Last season’s 2020 Nigel Cooper Most Valuable Player is back for 2021. Leland Archer returns for his fourth year with the Battery after an impressive showing on the defensive unit in the shortened 2020 season.

Archer was an indefatigable defender last season being the only player to start all 17 matches. His defensive prowess was on full display in that time as the former College of Charleston standout led the team in several statistical categories. His 63 clearances would go on to set up big plays for the attack. Additionally, Archer’s 16 blocks gave plenty of breathing room for the goalkeeping unit as Joe Kuzminsky and Phil Breno would combine for 6 clean sheets.

Archer’s performance all season did not go unnoticed. Along with the team MVP nod, Leland was selected by fans as the Battery's 2020 Derek Revord Defensive Player of the Year and earned a spot on the USL Championship's All-League Second Team. His team-leading 1,530 minutes on the pitch was a career high.

“I’m excited to get going for 2021,” Archer said, “after getting so far in 2020. And having even more fans in our new stadium at Patriots Point, it’s going to be amazing.” Now, with three years in the Black and Yellow under his belt, Archer’s upward trajectory is just one more example of how 2021 is shaping up to be an amazing season.
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #15 on: January 10, 2021, 09:48:23 AM »
Why didn't he stay in Scotland?
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #16 on: January 10, 2021, 03:15:05 PM »
Why didn't he stay in Scotland?

No deal  maybe
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Re: Leland Archer Thread
« Reply #17 on: January 14, 2021, 05:26:59 PM »
WATCH: Leland Archer - 2020 USL Highlights

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/EVeCUL7vPEk" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/EVeCUL7vPEk</a>
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Archer called up for national team duty
« Reply #18 on: January 27, 2021, 08:15:00 AM »
Archer called up for national team duty
Charleston Battery Staff


The Battery announced Wednesday that veteran defender Leland Archer has been invited to join the Trinidad and Tobago national squad as the team is scheduled to play the United States in an international friendly match Sunday, January 31, at Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida.

The call up is Archer’s first for the twin-island nation's senior squad having previously appeared on both the Under-17 and Under-20 national team rosters. The team, nicknamed the “Soca Warriors”, will use Sunday’s friendly in preparation for the first round of CONCACAF Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 beginning this March.

“It’s an honor to represent your country at the highest level,” Archer said. “I’m definitely excited, but also honored to be chosen.” Archer travels from Charleston to Orlando this week to join the team ahead of the friendly against Coach Gregg Berhalter’s American squad that will include household names Jozy Altidore, Paul Arriola and Kellyn Acosta. “The U.S. is obviously a tough Concacaf game,” Leland added, “but it’s definitely more exciting than daunting because it’s one of the better teams to be playing against at this level.”

The international friendly match is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. EST, Sunday, January 31, and will be aired on the FS1 network.

Archer joins a growing list from the Battery roster expected to play at the international level this year. Forward Nico Rittmeyer joined the Guatemalan national team late last year and was in the starting lineup for the team’s 1-0 victory over Puerto Rico on January 23. Defender AJ Paterson is expected to rejoin Grenada’s first team for international competitions this spring as well as forward Zeiko Lewis who has represented the Bermuda national team since 2015.
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Charleston Battery’s Leland Archer hopes ‘Soca Warriors’ can shock US again
By Jeff Hartsell (The Post and Courier)


One headline called it “The Worst Loss In The History Of U.S. Men’s Soccer.”

The newspaper in Port-of-Spain crowed, “Payback”.

Charleston Battery defender Leland Archer was a senior at College of Charleston on Oct. 10, 2017, when his home country of Trinidad and Tobago scored one of the biggest upsets in international soccer history.

The “Soca Warriors,” named for the style of music popular in the island nation and the team Archer grew up idolizing, defeated the U.S. Men’s National Team 2-1 at Ato Boldon Stadium in the city of Couva. The U.S. loss knocked the American squad out of the World Cup for the first time since 1986 and set off wide-ranging changes in U.S. soccer.

Archer remembers being back home in Trinidad and Tobago at the time and saw the reaction.

“Everyone was ecstatic,” Archer recalled. “When I was younger, they knocked us out of the World Cup. So this was our payback.”

Archer, 25, will get a chance to replicate that upset on Sunday, when he will suit up for the Soca Warriors against the USMNT in an international friendly in Orlando, Fla. The match is not part of a tournament, so the stakes are not as high.

But don’t tell that to Archer, who will be playing for his home country’s national team for the first time.

“It’s a big deal,” said Archer, a 6-4, 185-pound defender who is in his third season with the Battery. “It’s always a bit of extra motivation for the guys when we play the U.S. It’s a friendly, but it definitely still has that intensity. Both teams want to win.”

Island life
Archer was born in Port-of-Spain and grew up in Trinidad and Tobago, an island nation of about 1.2 million people located just off the coast of Venezuela. It’s the southernmost island nation in the Caribbean Sea, and thanks to large quantities of fossil fuels has the third largest GDP in the Americas, behind only the U.S. and Canada.

Archer’s father is retired from the Coast Guard in T&T, and his mother works in communications.

“It was beautiful growing up there,” Archer said, “a lot different from the U.S. It’s a lot more laid back, in the sense of that island-life living.”

The sports pages of newspapers on the island are filled with news of the West Indies cricket team and sports such as archery and table tennis. Soccer came to the island in the 1890s, and after the nation became independent in 1962, Trinidad and Tobago joined FIFA in 1964. The Soca Warriors first reached the World Cup in 2006, becoming the smallest country to qualify for the Cup until Iceland did it in 2018.

Archer remembers spending a lot of time outdoors, playing football. His heroes were T&T stars such as Russell Latapy and Dwight Yorke, who scored 123 goals in the Premier League while playing for Manchester United and other clubs.

“We’d play with anything we could find that we could kick,” Archer said.

Former College of Charleston coach Ralph Lundy found Archer and offered him a scholarship, and Archer became an all-conference defender for the Cougars, logging more than 6,000 minutes on the pitch.

Soccer goals
Archer’s goal is to play in Europe, much like Latapy and Yorke. A chance to share the pitch with U.S. striker Jozy Altidore and other American stars is a big opportunity.

Archer spent some of the fall training with Hibernian FC, a Scottish Premiership club, as part of the Battery’s partnership deal with that team. He returned to Charleston just before Christmas.

“It was a great experience,” he said. “The competition over there is very good. They have quality players and I learned a lot from being there. The new partnership the Battery has with them was a good eye-opener to see what a higher level is like.”

The Soca Warriors have been training in Trinidad and Tobago under new coach Terry Fenwick, a former English player and manager. Archer traveled to meet the team in Orlando for a couple of days’ training before the Sunday match at Exploria Stadium in Orlando. The match will be televised on FS1.

The 24-member team selected by Fenwick also includes American-born defender Michael Deshields, who was was selected by D.C. United as the fifth overall pick in the MLS draft last week. Another U.S.-born player on the team is Jonathan Jimenez, who plays for USL team Rio Grande Valley FC Toros.

The history between the U.S. and the Soca Warriors contains some drama.

During qualifying for the 1990 World Cup, the Warriors needed only a draw against the Americans to advance. But Paul Caligiuri scored the famed “shot heard round the world” as the U.S. won 1-0 to qualify for its first World Cup since 1950.

In 2017, Trinidad and Tobago exacted revenge. An own goal by the U.S. and a goal by the Warriors’ Alvin Jones lifted T&T to a 2-1 win and prevented the Americans from advancing to the World Cup.

“It’s a great opportunity and experience for so many young players in Trinidad and Tobago who have not played competitive football for over a year,” Fenwick told reporters in Trinidad and Tobago. “It’s a chance for them to make a name for themselves in a shop window.”
The Conquering Lion of Judah shall break every chain.