Welcome to our continuing series of Meet the USASA features where we annually profile the clubs representing the United States Adult Soccer Association in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Advancing from the four regional tournaments, these often unknown clubs have great stories to tell and each year, our goal is to allow fans to get to know them as they attempt to become this year’s Cinderella story.
After a one season’s absence, the Kansas City Athletics will once again represent the United States Adult Soccer Association’s (USASA) Region II at the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup.
For the last three years, KC has benefitted as the only entry from the state of Kansas, therefore not having to play a state qualifying tournament and getting a bye into the regional tournament. They are the only USASA club from Kansas to qualify for the Open Cup in the Modern Pro Era (1995-present).
In the 2010 tournament, the Athletics were eliminated in the first round by the NSC Minnesota Stars by a result of 4-2. Player/coach Kyle Perkins believes the game was much closer than the score line indicates, as one goal was scored via penalty kick and another the result of “an unlikely goalkeeper error.”
Since their elimination from the 2010 U.S. Open Cup, the Athletics have been playing in the Kansas Soccer Association League, and against some local colleges in the spring.
In 2011, the club’s qualification hopes were dashed by the Iowa Menace. A combination of overconfidence and only having ten players available doomed Kansas City to a crushing 7-1 defeat. The Athletics struck first, but Iowa seized the lead before halftime and never relented.
In their final qualifying match for the 2012 edition of the Open Cup, Kansas City again were forced to play with only ten men. The club only had the budget to send eleven players to the Bensenville, IL tournament, and at the last moment a player was called to train with the MLS side Sporting Kansas City. It was the luck of the draw for the Athletics because thanks to a blind draw conducted by Region II officials, it was determined that their game against the Cincy Saints would be a “Win & You’re In” match, with the other four entries playing off for the second Open Cup berth. Fortunately for the Athletics, their opponents, the Saints, had only eight players make the journey. KC won the match 10-2, and became the first Region II club to qualify for the tournament.
Regarding the victory, Perkins said, “Even with ten we would have been able to compete against a full eleven and scrap out a win. If we didn’t believe that we wouldn’t have shown up. All we could do was play against the team we drew.”
Kansas City will face the Premier Development League’s Real Colorado Foxes at the Colorado School of Mines in Golden, Co on Tuesday, May 15. Despite having a history of playing shorthanded, Perkins expects the Athletics to have a full-strength starting eleven and substitutes ready to go on match day. “We are a solid team who loves to play attacking soccer,” said Perkins, “So I am sure there will be some goals this week.
“Our goal every year is to go as far as we can in the Open Cup and win our regional final in June,” Perkins added. “It’s one step at a time for us.”