When North County Battalion owner Jason Barbato launched his new National Premier Soccer League club, he didn’t just want to provide a great product on the field.
He wanted to support his community as well.
A big part of the plan involves local youth clubs. Having no youth system of its own, Battalion has elected to partner with various local soccer clubs in an effort to foster goodwill. So far, through its opening two home games, Battalion has invited San Diego Soccer Club and the Del Mar Carmel Valley Sharks as special guests. Despite rainy weather on April 9, various players from from San Diego SC showed up in their blue-and-orange gear and supported Battalion during the franchise’s first-ever home win.
On Saturday, it was the Sharks’ turn to send representatives to participate in the walk-out and national anthem and serve as ball boys for Battalion’s game against Albion Pros.
“It is a great opportunity for our young players to see games up close, while also supporting the team,” Sharks’ Director of Club Operations Shannon MacMillan said.
Along with featuring youth clubs on match days, Battalion is also partnering with local businesses in an attempt to market the new franchise across San Diego County. One such partner, Rita’s of Escondido, has worked closely with the new professional team. On April 15, the day before Battalion’s first game against its cross-town rival, Rita’s hosted a meet-and-greet event at its Felicita location.
Kids of all ages enjoyed Italian ice and frozen custard treats on a Friday night, while Battalion players signed photos for the shop’s patrons. The Uhles family, which owns Rita’s, are regulars at Battalion home games, where they also have a vending stand.
“When we first spoke with NC Battalion, we knew that their mission of supporting the local community aligned with ours,” Rita’s owner Chris Uhles said. “It’s important for Rita’s of Escondido to support those who support you, so we’re glad to be a part of the Battalion family.”
For more information on North County Battalion and the team’s partnerships in the community, visit www. ncbattalion.com.