18 NPSL Teams Prepare for 2017 First Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
The First Round of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is this week as amateur and professional soccer teams across the USA prepare for an unprecedented edition of this historic annual tournament. The single-game knockout format will see a modern era record of 99 teams compete for the top prize.
NPSL Soccer News: Entering its 104th year of competition, the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup format is set, with the remaining eligible Open Division local qualifiers advancing directly to the First Round played on May 10th.
“The U.S. Open Cup is one of America’s oldest sporting events and the NPSL truly is honored to be part of it,” NPSL Chairman Joe Barone commented. “We’re excited to have even more teams in the tournament this year and we know that our fans and supporters will be cheering them on from the very beginning. The Open Cup is such a special event and it has become an obvious favorite for so many in the American game.”
Similar to the previews two years, teams will be paired geographically from the First Round through the Fourth Round. After the Fourth Round, a geographically-based random draw will take place to determine the Round of 16 matchups and set a fixed bracket to the Final, which is scheduled for September 20th.
A total of 56 Open Division teams (including clubs from the National Premier Soccer League) will enter in the First Round, while 24 teams from the Division II North American Soccer League and United Soccer League will see their first action in the Second Round on May 17th. The Third Round takes place May 31st, with the winners from this stage joined by 19 Division I Major League Soccer clubs in the Fourth Round on June 14th.
This year’s winning club will receive $250,000, a berth in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions’ League and have its name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy. The runner-up will earn $60,000, while the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will receive a $15,000 cash prize.
Owned and operated by Lamar Hunt’s sons Clark and Dan, FC Dallas is the defending U.S. Open Cup champion, having earned the club’s second title following a 4-2 win against the New England Revolution in 2016 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas.
“OSA FC is looking at the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as a massive opportunity to show the growing soccer community what is being done to develop local American talent,” said Jacob Smithers, OSA FC Social Media and Communication Manager. “Known for its connection with local universities and Italian soccer clubs, the cross-cultural exchange is bearing wonderful fruit for the Seattle-based club.”
“OSA football club loves the spirit of this age-old tournament and the tough competition it provides for teams of all calibers,” said Smithers.
“Watching the Open Cup gain strength with every year, and seeing the talent of the teams competing increase, is a very special thing for American soccer fans to witness—and any team involved can be proud of that,” added Smithers.
“Teams from the smaller, local levels have a chance to succeed on a big stage by showing well in the tournament,” said said Sean McDaniel, General Manager of Chattanooga FC.
“The US Open Cup is probably the closest thing we have to promotion/relegation in this country.”
“Chattanooga fans are instantly captivated by this tournament because it means there’s always hope that we can keep moving up the soccer ladder each and every Open Cup match,” said McDaniel. “Fans love to cheer for the underdog and the U.S. Open Cup allows for this to happen. CFC has participated in the Open Cup for a few years now — so our guys are very aware of its significance and what it means to play in a national spotlight.”
“Each and every year the teams competing in the first and second rounds improve,” said McDaniel. “We believe this will be the most competitive tournament that’s been seen. CFC always feels honored to represent our city and our fans in this tournament and we hope to do the same in 2017.”
“Competing in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is an honor and also a great opportunity,” said Christopher Riordan, Clarkstown SC Eagles defender.
“To have a chance to play and compete against professional teams in an official nationwide tournament in games that matter, not just friendlies, is a rare opportunity.”
“We get to be able to showcase our abilities against top professional teams,” said Riordan. “We understand that winning the whole tournament is highly improbable. We just hope to advance as far as we can and enjoy the experience along the way.”
“Having the opportunity to compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup means the world to our organization,” said Roberto Aguas, New Jersey Copa FC head coach.
“For the players, coaches and personnel within the New Jersey Copa FC Family, who have all dedicated their lives to this game, the chance to play in the historic Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a dream come true,” said Aguas who is a lifelong supporter of all levels of soccer in the USA.
“From our founding in 2016, to reaching the NPSL Regional Finals in our first year in the league, to earning a spot in the second oldest cup competition in the world, it has been an amazing journey for New Jersey Copa FC,” said Aguas. “Our coaches, comprised of the Directors of FC Copa Academy, have done a superb job of getting our players ready, both mentally and physically.”
”We are excited the wait is over and our first Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup game is almost here,” said Marco Pruis, Dutch Lions FC head coach.
“The team has started practice last week, and the boys are doing well in preparation to hosting NTX Rayados on May 10th,” said Pruis. “We hope to have the support of our fan base, and together create one heck of a game with for us, a positive result.”
“We are proud to be part of most historic tournament in country and have amazing opportunity to put our club on map in pro soccer,” said Noah Gins, Albion SC PROS Executive Director.
“It’s an honor and a privilege to be competing in this tournament,” said Ziggy Korytoski, Albion SC PROS head coach. “I am looking forward to measuring ourselves against the best teams in the country.”
“It’s a knock-out tournament so you’ve got to be disciplined and at your best each and every Wednesday.”
“We feel we have a good cast of characters and can write a pretty good storyline. The goal is to get through the month of May and go as far as we can. I like the team we are bringing to the party,” said Korytoski.
“AFC Cleveland is honored to represent the NPSL in the U.S. Open Cup,” said Terry Lawriw, President/CEO of AFC Cleveland. “It’s our second year in the competition, and we hope to make it deep into the tournament. The U.S. Open Cup provides amateur men’s soccer clubs a unique opportunity to go against professional clubs, and the learning experience gained from those matchups is invaluable both on and off the field.”
“ACF Cleveland learned a lot from our trip to Missouri last year to play Saint Louis FC.”
“We look forward to the opportunity to face some great clubs this year as well,” continued Lawriw. “Since its the first game of the season for our team, our players and coaches have been training hard in a short period of time in prep for the match, but we are confident in our ability to do the NPSL proud as the defending league champions.”
Tulsa Athletic‘s owner Sonny Dalesandro, said, “The U.S. Open Cup provides a great platform — The purists in this country are starved for promotion and relegation and this is the opportunity for a smaller club to play an MLS team. It is a fantastic tournament.”
“One of the challenges is that we will not even have our full team together when we compete in the U.S. Open Cup tomorrow,” Dalesandro. “Yet, it is one of the most important matches of the year. This is our third year competing in the Cup and a win tomorrow would match us up against our local Professional side — and, if that is not motivation enough for a young player, I don’t know what is. ”
Alvin Glay, Managing Partner of Atlanta Silverbacks FC and is also looking forward to participating in this soccer tournament which captures the spirit of America’s heart of competition.
NPSL Teams Participating in the 2017 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup
Qualified via 2016 NPSL playoffs (8): AFC Cleveland* (Ohio), Albion SC PROS (Calif.), Chattanooga FC* (Tenn.), Clarkstown SC Eagles* (N.Y.), Grand Rapids FC (Mich.), Miami United FC (Fla.), New Jersey Copa FC (N.J.), Sonoma County Sol (Calif.)
At-Large Berths (10): AFC Ann Arbor (Mich.), Atlanta Silverbacks*, Boston City FC (Mass.), Dutch Lions FC (Texas), FC Wichita* (Kan.), Fredericksburg FC* (Va.), Jacksonville Armada U-23 (Fla.), Legacy 76 (Va.), OSA FC (Wash.), Tulsa Athletics (Okla.)
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Club Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The NPSL opted to use 2016 league results to determine its qualifiers for the 2017 Open Cup.
*Participated in 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup