LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP ANNOUNCES FIELD
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup announced today that the Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC 2 and New York Cosmos B, all squads in the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), have been invited to participate in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
“We are very thankful to the Open Cup committee and the various people that have worked hard for this to come to a resolution that works for everyone,” said Armada FC President and General Manager Nathan Walter. “We are excited to compete in the longest-running competition in this country.”
The decision was taken by U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee earlier this week and the three teams are required to confirm their participation. Jacksonville confirmed its participation Friday night. A statement on the decision from the Open Cup Committee:
“The Committee carefully considered the teams’ exceptional situation which involved all three moving from Professional Division II status in 2017 to solely Open Division league participation earlier this year. Since the move occurred after the Open Division league’s 2018 Open Cup entry deadline in mid-2017, the Committee decided to allow the three teams the opportunity to compete in the 2018 edition of the U.S. Open Cup.”
Upon confirming their participation, the three teams will enter the competition via a Play-In Round scheduled for the weekend of May 5-6. The winners of these play-in games will advance to the First Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup on May 9.
The opponents in the Play-In Round will be one team drawn from the NPSL and two from the Premier Development League (PDL) who have already qualified for the competition and are in close geographical proximity to the three invited teams. After identifying the list of possible opponents meeting this criteria, the exact opponents will be selected by random draw in cases where multiple options exist.
The opponents of the three invited teams will be given first option to host their Play-In game, with U.S. Soccer covering reasonable and standard venue license fees and referee expenses for this round only should the already-qualified teams elect to host.
As part of the entry process, Jacksonville Armada, Miami FC 2 and New York Cosmos B must confirm their home venue for the Play-In Round and First Round of the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup by April 3 at 4 p.m. ET. In the event of a scheduling conflict between the Open Cup Play-In Round and an existing league match, a team in this situation will be required to reschedule its league match in order to continue participation in the tournament. All Play-In Round games will be played under official Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup rules, including roster provisions and discipline.
This will be the fourth year the Armada FC participates in the Open Cup. In 2015, the club entered the competition for the first time in the Third Round against the Richmond Kickers and fell 3-0. In 2016, the Armada FC was triumphant over Charleston Battery, but then fell to Orlando City SC 1-0 in the Fourth Round. Miami United FC hosted Jacksonville in the Second Round of the 2017 USOC. The Armada FC advanced on to the Third Round and hosted Charleston again, but was defeated 1-0.
ABOUT THE LAMAR HUNT U.S. OPEN CUP
Entering its 105th year, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, is the only high-profile competition in American team sports where amateur sides have the opportunity to face professionals in meaningful competition. The tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer and has crowned a champion annually since 1914. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.