Gulledge gets playing time in Battery loss to West Brom

gulledge St. James High rising senior Cole Gulledge received an unexpected phone call Thursday morning that made his summer and young soccer career.

On the other end was Charleston Battery coach Dusty Huddock inviting him to play for the team in Friday’s 7:30 p.m. match against West Bromwich Albion of the English Premier League at Blackbaud Stadium in Daniel Island. The 17-year-old Gulldge is a member of the S.C. Battery U-18 Development Academy team, so a chance to play for the top squad was a dream come true.

“It took me a moment to process what Coach Huddock was asking me. Once the initial shock wore off I just became filled with excitement,” Gulledge said. “This is an amazing opportunity for me to compete against world class players in a terrific atmosphere.”

Gulledge got into th game for the final 25 minutes of the match. West Brom earned a 2-1 victory in the exhibition game that saw more than 5,000 fans attend.

Before joining the S.C. Battery Development Academy,  Gulledge played his entire youth career at Coast FA, and he is a current member of the NPSL Myrtle Beach Mutiny. He sat out his sophomore and junior years with the Sharks to be a part of the Battery program.

“I owe a lot to all of my coaches at Coast starting at age 5 in the micro league up to playing two years in the Region III Premier League at age 15,” Gulledge said. “These coaches gave me everything that I needed to be successful and I intend to make the most of my opportunities moving forward.”

“As Cole’s former coach I am super proud of him for his achievements. His efforts on and off the field are a testament to his hard work and is what created this opportunity for him tomorrow night. He has a bright future on and off the pitch” said Coach Joel Banta.

Coast FA Director of Coaching Ross Morgan added “This is a great opportunity for Cole to play against an established Premier League side full of seasoned professional players many with World Cup, European Championship and Copa America experience. It is nice to see a player that started with Coast FA as a 5-year-old go through our program, become a starter with the U.S Development Academy and now get a chance to play with the Battery against West Brom.”

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