Pair of Sharks get their shot to play soccer for Battery

batteryA pair of St. James High soccer standouts are getting their shot at the big time as defender/midfielder Cole Gulledge and forward Conor Sloan have made a professional soccer roster.

Four teenage prospects from the SC Battery Academy have joined the Charleston Battery’s 2016 roster through a program that allows USL teams to sign amateur players from their affiliated academies without it costing the prospect NCAA eligibility. The pair of Sharks are being joined by forward Robbie Robertson of Camden and midfielder Alex Henderson of Daniel Island.

Gulledge, 18, is a versatile 6-3 senior at St. James High School who will play for College of Charleston in the fall. He joined the academy four years ago and wound up making an appearance for the Battery last July in Charleston’s 2-1 exhibition loss to West Bromwich Albion. He calls that experience his best moment in soccer so far.

“Natural ability took over,” Gulledge said. “The crowd just went silent for me. (I was) playing alongside a great group of guys, they took me in well, and I just couldn’t be happier about it.”

At 6-3, he’s an aerial specialist who is working on his quickness and technical skills. “I’m more of a holding midfielder, sitting behind the playmaker, and I can also slide into a center back role, or even, as I did recently with the first team, I can slide out to the right back. I was pretty successful there.”

Sloan, 17, has known Gulledge since the two were 4 years old and they came up playing together in rec, club and school soccer. The 5-9 striker began to take soccer seriously after attending a camp in Alabama while he was still in middle school, and he’s appeared in Battery preseason matches. The left-footer plays forward, but prefers to work at left wing. He’s committed to Furman University.

“I would say my major strengths are probably my quickness and my speed, my ability to take players one-on-one. My weaknesses would be my right foot, that’s for sure. I need to work on that, and I have been.”

_ Photo by Dan Conover/Charleston Battery

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