Battogtokh Joins CF Villareal Affiliate, Will Feature in USOC
Battogtokh unveiled as a CF Villareal Virginia player
Mongolian-American Bilegtuvshin Battogtokh is making history again, this time as likely the first Mongolian to sign for a club in the American United Premier Soccer League. The club will feature in 2024 U.S. Open Cup qualifying, likely more new territory for a Mongolian player.
Battogtokh has signed a 1-year deal with CF Villareal Virginia of the UPSL, the fourth tier of the United States soccer pyramid. The team competes in the same division as several high-profile academies, including that of Major League Soccer's D.C. United. The UPSL is a crossroads of American soccer talent, featuring former and current NCAA Division 1 university players, former professionals, and even some internationals from smaller national teams.
Villareal CF Virginia, which was official announced in 2018, joined the UPSL in 2022. It is the first official American affiliate of CF Villareal of Spain's La Liga. The affiliation sees the two clubs exchange players and coaches, and provides opportunities for Virginia's players to train and compete in Spain.
Earlier this month, the club officially announced that they would be one of the UPSL's entrants into the 2024 U.S. Open Cup, the country's oldest ongoing football tournament. First played in 1914, the federation cup sees teams from amateur leagues up through Major League Soccer compete against each other for the title.
CF Villareal Virginia will open their USOC campaign against Steel Pulse FC of the Maryland Super Soccer League on 30 September. After receiving a bye to the second qualifying round, the winner will progress to qualifying Round 3. Teams must pass through Round 4 to participate in the tournament proper.
To learn more about Steel Pulse FC, read: https://www.marylandbobcatsfc.com/news/2022/12/27/maryland-bobcats-fc-acquires-local-amateur-club-steel-pulse-fc
Mongolian Football Central first covered Battogtokh in late 2020 when he was a student and member of the football team at Ohio Christian University while also training and coaching for the Ocean City Nor'easters. Since then, a lot has changed for the player, but his passion and goals for his career have stayed the same.
After graduating from Ohio Christian University, Battogtokh began working on a master's degree in Health and Physical Education/Fitness at Old Dominion University while enjoying playing with the university's club side. While studying, he also enjoyed a stint as an assistant coach for the women's team of nearby Regent University from March to June 2023. Ultimately he decided to pause his coaching career to focus on playing for now.
Last year he decided to return to his homeland to play for the first time, signing a contract with the MPL's Khovd FC. Unfortunately, technicalities kept him from joining the club. Last winter, Battogtokh trialed with Deren FC for two weeks but the experience ultimately did not lead to a contract.
Bilegtuvshin Battogtokh's next journey begins 27 August 2023 as CF Villareal Virginia's UPSL season kicks off against Alexandria Reds FC. The player will be looking to make an impression to continue his climb up the American soccer pyramid and earn a shot with the Mongolian national team.
Battogtokh with current Deren FC manager Chimeddorj Munkhbat