The Battery came up with the idea of inviting teams from Major League Soccer to Charleston for a week of preseason training and competition in the early years of the 21st century, then pioneered the format of the lower-division preseason invitational tournament with the first Carolina Challenge Cup in 2004.
Over the years, the popular round-robin tournament has showcased many of the greatest players in North American soccer at Charleston’s MUSC Health Stadium. The drama unfolds over three doubleheader nights as the Battery and three MLS sides compete for the Cup, awarded each year to the team that secures the most points.
For soccer fans in Charleston — and the traveling fans of the three MLS clubs — Carolina Challenge Cup is typically a three-night celebration of the beautiful game, often marked by an upbeat, festival-like atmosphere.
In 2014 the Battery announced a historic partnership with MLS to promote the tournament. Local travel and tourism officials saw CCC’s value as well, and lined up behind the event in support. The 2015 tournament featured the first-ever meeting between expansion clubs NYCFC and Orlando City S.C., plus the third consecutive CCC appearance by two-time MLS Cup champions Houston Dynamo. The Battery sold out both the first and final nights of the tournament, the first time in tournament history that two of the three nights of CCC action sold out.
The tournament went on hiatus in 2016 when two of the three MLS teams that had planned on participating advanced to the later rounds of CONCACAF Champions League.
Carolina Challenge Cup 2015 was presented by Major League Soccer and sponsored by the Charleston Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, the City of North Charleston, the Town of Mount Pleasant, and the City of Charleston.