Screaming Eagles disqualified from USASA Region I qualifying, Aegean Hawks advance to semis

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  • April 12, 2013

The USASA Region I semifinals have been altered after the region determined the Screaming Eagles, the Maryland champions, have been disqualified for using multiple players that were not cleared by the United States Soccer Federation (USSF). As a result, the Eagles 1-0 quarterfinal victory on April 7 over the Aegean Hawks has been overturned and the Hawks will now move on to the semifinals.

The Hawks will travel north to New Jersey to take on Garden State champions Icon FC in a “Win & You’re In” match on April 21. Time and location is still to be determined.

TheCup.us has learned that nine players listed on the Eagles’ gameday roster did not have their international clearance paperwork appoved by the USSF and despite the team being notified prior to the game that those players were not cleared, they were listed on the 18-man roster anyway.

Efforts to contact the Screaming Eagles by email have not yet been returned.

In the week leading up to the match, Hawks manager Jonathan Knight was aware that the Eagles were having difficulties getting players registered, but chose not to protest the result. Instead, as he put it, he allowed the organizers of the tournament to handle the issue.

“While we are obviously pleased that we have the opportunity to continue our run in the 100th edition of the US Open Cup, we are saddened that it has come about with the disqualification of our opponent,” said Knight after learning of the decision. “The Screaming Eagles were a worthy opponent that showcased athleticism and technical ability beyond their years.  The fact that they edged us on April 7 is a testament to the fact that they have a quality side.”

When an amateur team takes part in the US Open Cup, each player must be properly registered with the USSF. For players born outside of the United States or who have played professionally in the past, there is additional paperwork that must be submitted.

“The bottom line is the US Open Cup has player eligibility rules that can be quite onerous, particularly from teams comprised of players born overseas,” said Knight. “Over the years we have had countless players ineligible to participate based on these clearance rules, and have always refrained from playing those players until such time as they are cleared.”

When the Hawks take on Icon FC, who defeated West Chester United 4-2 in their quarterfinal match back on April 7, they will be aiming for their second straight Open Cup berth, and the fourth in the last seven years.

37 Comments

  • Paul Konneh says:

    It’s just unfortunate that their hard work has come to naught. As the Executive Director of Junior Lone Star FC, a team which comprises of immigrants, I do know how onerous the entire process is and I wish our brothers at Screaming Eagles who have contacted us. It’s a shame that they came so close to making history just to have the rug swept from under their feet. Hopefully, they will bounce back next year and compete again.

  • richard zico says:

    it is saddened to hear the erroneous decision by the USSF against the player registration issue. the screaming eagles players are all amateur’s that ply together within metropolitan area of DC.
    the said screaming eagles players have never been involved in professional game neither any of the players played organized games that focused on contractual compensation. The USSF need to do justice as this connote discrimination against the screaming eagles. several attempts to relate and have the USASA and MSA to prove the team have un cleared players is still yet to be known.
    However, the onus of the un cleared players need to be proven further. please we take this serious and need justice done..

  • Radar Love says:

    Actually, the onus of uncleared players doesn’t have to be proven by anyone except USSF. It doesn’t matter if the aforementioned “uncleared” players will come back as clear from their birth countries’ soccer federations eventually. The rules are very clear that they need to be officially clear BEFORE they appear in a US Open Cup match, and not prior. The vast majority of players that require clearance were not professionals in their home country, but the teams need to make sure that the official process has been followed before they play in a match. The USASA National Cup Policies are very clear on this and as a result, managers start the clearance process well in advance of any games to avoid the situation where their team cannot play. Screaming Eagles were informed of the rules early on in the Cup season by MD officials, and chose to ignore those warnings. MD chooses not to enforce USASA National Cups rules during their state tournament – they use different substitution rules, for example, etc, calling it the Rowland Cup, but the winner advances to the Regional tournament that uses National Cup rules. Screaming Eagles were informed of these rules and assumed they didn’t apply to them, and by the time they took the clearance seriously, it was too late. It is unfortunate, but the onus is on Screaming Eagles and nobody else. If anything, the MD state officials share some blame, but there is no discrimination at play here at all. Here are the USASA National Cup Policies: http://www.usasa.com/docs/2-27-12%20USASA_NATIONAL_CUP_POLICIES_Updated%20with%20Champions.pdf

  • Paul Konneh says:

    In as much as I detest the decision to eliminate the Screaming Eagles, I think rules are rules. I don’t think Screaming Eagles have participated in these kinds of competitions before and I don’t know if they were really helped by MD Officials who should’ve demanded that the Screaming Eagles cleared all their players right after the State Cup Final. It’s very unfortunate but rules are rules. Blame should be shared between MD and also Screaming Eagles.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    We almost had similar situation at Junior Lone Star FC when our U-23s qualified for the USASA Regionals in 2008. The States usually don’t imposed those eligibility rules during the State Round of competitions, but once we were crowned Champions, our State (EPSA) assisted us by emailing and faxing all our players’ ITCs to the US Soccer Federation and they followed through with the USSF until all of our players were cleared before we registered them for Regionals. I’m just saying that the MD Officials should’ve done more but I guess they, maybe, knew all along that this would happen, but they chose to do nothing, just saying….

  • Josh Hakala says:

    I can only speculate based on my own experience, but the folks behind the Maryland Soccer Association are one of the most organized (and helpful, in the case of those of us who cover their qualifying tournament) state associations in the USASA. I don’t know this for sure, but I would be really surprised if the Eagles weren’t told very early on that they need to get started on clearing their players.

  • Richard Zico says:

    sequel to various submission and opinions received so far I am most concerned and need to investigate further to identify where the problem started. someone drop the ball along the line.
    My assertions is drawn from USSF policy book itself. there must not be a departure from this rule book. the Eagles were notified to submit documentations to clear players. Mr. Gorman was contacted in Chicago about this and we were told it was a rumour that Eagles were disqualified. couple of weeks ago….this issue started before we played Aegean Hawks of DC?MD?VA. The Eagles submitted all list of players that are US Citizens as well as those with permanent resident card along side with high school diplomas etc and completely filled out forms F-11 and F12….
    USSF player clearance requires at least 30-60 days before it can be processed. from the date we were notified of the requirements it was not up to 30 days. the date of State final game against Baltimore Bays was……….this was the time we were notified we need to complete registration for regional games which was absolutely done….for any reasons, if the documents were not cleared on the part of the US Soccer; we have no way of knowing that and we have done a due diligence by indicating that ”
    ALL OUR PLAYERS ARE AMATEUR WHO HAVE NEVER PARTAKE IN ANY COMPENSATORY CONTRACT..THESE OUR TALENTED YOUTH THAT DECIDED TO PLAY TOGETHER AND HAVE FUN.
    As luck will have it we are here.
    My opinion, although I stand corrected:- everyone feels the Eagles have no backbone and that they could be edged out with some difficulties beyond there reasoning….if not someone from the state of Maryland should be there enough to intimate us about this ordeal and state clearly that without this there wont be a game for us at all.
    On the part of the Aegean Hawks, they have journalist working for them. This is seen as a planned work.

    On the part of Eagles, we will like the rules to be enforced. we are law abiding citizens and we mature through errors and faults in life. However, we want a due diligence to be carried out.
    (1) where are the documentations which was sent to Chicago for review
    (2) was the 30-60 days time frame notice for registration given..in view of the date of state finals.
    (3) the onus of the burden to prove clearance is not on Eagles. USSF and USASA must indicate who were not cleared and for what reasons…..
    (4) what happened to the forms f11 and f12 that were faxed to Chicago.

  • Radar Love says:

    MD Officials should have informed the Eagles of the requirements for US Open Cup at the BEGINNING of the state tournament in the case that they came out victorious, understanding that clearance can take up to 30 days AFTER submission of forms and supporting documentation to USSF. USSF International clearance status is not a subjective matter. The players are either not cleared, or they are cleared by the USSF. If they were born elsewhere, they will not be cleared until the paperwork is filed and information received back from the relevant country, period. The policy for USSF international clearance is that once they receive the forms/submissions for clearance of players, they send them to the relevant country football federation. If they don’t receive any information back within 30 days, the players are automatically cleared to play, but not one minute before that. In the case that the federation receives information back earlier – this happens as well – then the players are cleared earlier than 30 days. What’s clear is that the 30 days starts after the USSF sends the submitted forms to the relevant soccer federation. Therefore, submitting the paperwork accurately is just the first step of the process. It is generally the policy of the USSF to inform the relevant team when the final status of the clearance is known – either because 30 days has elapsed and they’ve received no information back, or earlier than 30 days upon receipt of info. Team managers that are waiting on submissions generally try to check in at the 30 day mark from their submission to USSF in the hopes that the maximum window of time has been reached. If the Screaming Eagles were not informed of the tournament rules prior to commencement of their qualification campaign, then that is an issue with the MD officials; however, the National Cups policies are clearly listed on their website during the registration period, and the ITC clearance rules stated there. I think we can chalk this up to the naivete of the Eagles on the more stringent player eligibility requirements for US National Cup tournaments that unfortunately they have learned in a very difficult manner. The MD state officials should also be more forceful in enforcing the rules during the state tournament so that their champions don’t run this risk in the future. However, if this was the case, the Eagles wouldn’t have been able to play their first state level match.

  • Josh Hakala says:

    Since I believe I’m the only one who has covered this issue, I take offense to the suggestion that the Hawks “have a journalist working for them.” The reality is, when I emailed the Hawks for comment on the situation, they replied pretty quickly. I have yet to receive a reply from the Eagles to comment on the decision.

  • Roberto @ Lynch's F.C says:

    Rules are rules, and they must be followed. This is what I teach my students everyday!! If the Eagles were notified that they only had a certain amount of players cleared, why then would you play players that were not cleared? This has happened to me in Florida many times,i.e. Cortez F. C, Miami Copalatina Champion etc. I in turn was not so kind like Mr. Knight. Let’s not play the pity card here, but I’m an immigrant myself and I follow the rules. Maybe, the state/region commisioner should educate a brand new team what is required as soon as they register for the cup. It is the responsibility of the soccer community to help the Eagles succeed with the talent they have. This is a really good team, and I believe region 1 needs to get their act together, and take partial responsibilty for all this.

  • Richard Zico says:

    @ john kapala you have not contacted anyone from our team. There was nothing of that nature from you, the contact person and coaches for eagles are Zico and Adams (General Manager). please refrain from your submission that you emailed any reps from eagles. that’s unfair.

  • Wow says:

    So why did the Eagles play in the first place?Something sounds fishy. If rules are rules they shouldn’t have played in the first place. The team doesn’t even know which ‘nine players’ weren’t eligible? All I keep reading are comments against the eagles and about bullshit rules but they are only enforced after they win the game? Any legitimate organization would verify who was cleared and eligible to play BEFORE the game.

    USSF has lost all respect and legitimacy. Your credibility is tarnished.

    Lots of this article screams bias against the foreign new team that beat the shoeins. Shameful

  • John says:

    Wow is the only person that make sense here, the rest about rules are all total bullshits pls.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    Richard Zico, contact me at 610-809-5985.

  • WOW is indeed the only person here who sees things objectively…. SASC is with SE.

  • Tom says:

    I’ve been following this stuff for a while. As a referee, I’ve seen so much stuff, It boggles my mind. Question. Why in God’s creation would you put a team in without crossing your T’s and dotting your I’s . I’m here to referee a game not determine eligilbility. With that being said, shouldn’t this fall on the Eagles ? Are they saying this falls on MD soccer. Here is what I have seen. Teams like the Bays, Christos, Hawks, Charm City, have there ducks in order. I have done the eagles and teams like them. They are very talented but I found they don’t do the little things like the little details. They think they can just show up and play. Not in the big dance ! You need to do the little stuff

  • Excuses says:

    I run a team in the Cosmopolitan Soccer League of New York. When you enter a tournament, you understand the rules of the tournament before committing to join. This is team management 101. The Eagles have nobody to blame but themselves. I think what everyone here: WOW, Sporting Astoria SC, Zico etc are forgetting is that nobody is sitting here defending the rules. I can’t think of ONE person involved with a team that participates in these tourneys that LIKES these rules. But they are the rules, they are setup and thus by nature, they are enforced. USASA is just one member of USSF. The USASA portion of the Open Cup tournament is run by volunteers who dedicate themselves to running the Cups. Why did the Screaming Eagles even play? Well, for one, they are expected to comply with the rules of the tournament. If they’re told their players were ineligible to play, then they shouldn’t have played those players. Period. They chose to play them. The tournament organizers enforced the rules of the competition when they learned that the violation occurred. In my opinion, they could have avoided this AFTER the Fact scenario by simply providing the refs the approved players, but I assume they don’t want to put refs in a position where they do anything but ref the game. I can imagine some nasty exchanges between teams and a ref when told they can only play 8-9 of the players they brought. Everyone seems to say this Eagles team is good and young, well maybe they can take the tournament by storm next year now that they know the rules and that they will be enforced? You think this is a USSF issue? This is the OPEN CUP. It is THE national tournament open to amateur and pro teams. You think the English FA simply lets any team that wants to play in the FA Cup into the tournament without being cleared? if so you are sadly mistaken. If you want to play in tournaments with no rules, continue to dominate local ethnic leagues were player cards are constantly forged and rules are out the window, but if you want to make a name for yourself in a tournament that means something aside from a little local notoriety, then step up to the plate and play in the Open Cup, but read the rules and make sure you are in compliance first. This isn’t hard stuff…nobody likes the rules, and if you really don’t like them, stay in your local league and stop asking for pity!

  • Richard Zico says:

    Wow opinion is okay….but the situation sucks. I spoke with the VP maryland soccer Association, Mr. MCGRETH. All I discern frim is that we shld abide by national rules and that next time he will ensure the “ball wont drop frim any end again”….But why will answers not given for cause of action?
    The 30 day rule is unclear becos the Eagles and me were notified of this clearance apps to chicago on 3/10/2013 during our final games by obe Mr. VLADAMIR from germantown MD. if at all 30 days shld be followed why was our Regional game schedule for 04/07/2013…..Where is the due diligence???
    Equitable reasons is required but to my dismay. …I hv not had anything back tangible from USSF corridor…I hv my emails and concerns out to them including US Adult soccer assoc. Let us know all that we are sending bad image outhere and talented youths may be discouraged by certain acts.
    Not all shut eyes are sleeping. …I take this matter higher than lightly.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    Radar Love referred to the USASA National Cup Policies but a section that deals with protest might have not been done correctly just to enable Aegaen Hawks to qualify.

    Were the Eagles given the protest letter so that they could make statements on why those players were used? What if they had the authorization from the US Soccer Federation to use those players with provisional clearances? They had 18 players on the game day roster but 9 were “ineligible”; however, they could’ve played with 9 men if they would’ve been told who’s eligible or not…

    here’s the full policy on Protest which I’m sure wasn’t followed to the letter… #shameful…

    1. Any protest concerning a game played in state rounds of competitions shall be referred to the State Cups Commissioner. The commissioner shall decide the protest and that decision may not be appealed. Any protest concerning a game in regional rounds of competitions shall be referred to the National Cups Committee through the Regional Cups Commissioner for disposition. The decision of the committee may not be appealed.

    2. Should it become necessary, so as not to seriously and adversely impact a competition schedule, that an immediate decision regarding a protest in the regional rounds of competition is required, the Regional Cups Commissioner shall have the authority to render such a decision without consultation of the National Cups Committee, provided that:
    (a) the protest fee has been paid, and
    (b) both teams involved have been given the opportunity to present statements, either verbally or in writing, to the Regional Cups Commissioner. In the case of such an expedited decision regarding the format, distribution, and timing of notice and responses shall not apply.

    3. (a) The protest must be made in writing and must describe in detail the grounds for
    the protest.
    (b)(1) The original protest and a protest fee of $500.00 shall be submitted to the State Cups Commissioner for state rounds of competitions, and the Regional Cups Commissioner for regional rounds of competitions, within three days of the game to which the protest relates. A copy of the protest must be forwarded to the opposing team in the game. The protest shall be submitted to the appropriate cups commissioner and the opposing team by overnight express mail, telephone facsimile, or electronic mail.
    USASA National Cup Policy January 26, 2012
    23
    (b)(2) The protest fee must be sent to the appropriate cups commissioner in the form of cashiers check, certified check or money order, made payable to “USASA”.
    (c) The opposing team shall have seven days from the date the copy of the protest was forwarded to it, to submit to the appropriate cups commissioner its statement regarding the protest, if any. A copy of the statement shall be submitted to the opposing team by overnight express mail, telephone facsimile, electronic mail.
    (d) No protest shall be considered for the alleged use of an ineligible player whose name appears on the player pool form received by the opposing team under “203” unless prior to the game a written protest, accompanied by the $500 protest fee, is lodged with the referee and the opposing team for that game.
    (e) The protest shall be decided as soon as possible and may require further submission of evidence related to the protest.
    (f)(1) For a protest related to state rounds of competitions, notice of the State Cups Commissioner’s decision shall be sent by overnight delivery, telephone facsimile, or electronic mail to both teams competing in the game which was subject of the protest. In addition, the State Cups Commissioner must forward a copy of the decision, and copies of the documentation available in the case, within three days of the decision to the appropriate Regional Cups Commissioner.
    (f)(2) For protests relating to regional and national rounds of competitions, notice of the National Cups Committee’s decision shall be sent by overnight express mail, telephone facsimile, or electronic mail to both teams competing in the game which was subject of the protest. In addition, the cups committee must forward to the executive committee a copy of the decision and accompanying documentation available in the case, within three days of the decision.
    (g) A protest may be withdrawn in writing after it has been submitted, but withdrawal of a protest shall result in forfeiture of the protest fee, which shall be forwarded to USASA.

    4. The protest fee shall be returned if the protest is sustained, or forwarded to USASA if the protest is not sustained.

  • Adam says:

    Thanks to all.I am the coach of screaming eagles,a team to beat,i respect all of my opponents and no matter who they are,i have much respect for agean hawks,i am not taking anything away from them.great team,but we can beat them anytime.I am so dissapointed on the fact that the came out not to play there game,they where busy looking at my roster,infact the coach told me he is awared that i am having difficulties with my itc forms.how did he finds out?the only person who knows about this issues are the vice president of mssa and the registra in chicago michael goman.he also had access to my game roster but i have no access to there team roster.some of the agean hawks players knows my players very well since in high school and colledge.lets be fair,the came to beat the screaming eagles,the taught screaming eagles is no match for them.they should be ashame but i guess not,you just got beat by an unpaid coach and players,an under dog team,a team no one knows about and thanks to them,if any one needs a story tell please call me directly 2404609206.josh hakala please stop saying you try contacting me by email,call me if you need any information.thanks

  • Bullsear says:

    WOW has got a point.

    But Richard Zico, I’d think twice before accusing Mr. Hakala of shoddy journalism. You might also try searching your e-mail again for contact, but this time with the correct name: “Josh Hakala” (which is printed no less than 3 times on this page) not “John Kapala” (as you have written it above).

  • Chidi. says:

    On behalf of the Screaming Eagles Fc players, we are very heartbroken to be eliminated from a prestigious tournament like the US Open cup for not abiding to the rules of the USSF and Co. We are not far from being pro players but we are not pro; we have mostly students and family men that sometimes need 2 jobs to sustain their family. When we play we sweat, bleed before we win, in this game and level of competition nothing comes easy. We have been playing this game from when we started walking as infants and possess pure talents that are underdeveloped but good enough to knock out teams like BAYS and HAWKS . We all know that ignorance of the law is not an excuse, but we have all seen and know of a process called “APPEAL”. This process is used by the Court System everywhere including FIFA, so I don’t see why Screaming Eagles Fc was not granted the same fate. We would respect any decisions made after an appeal but we despise the verdict of this case. We thank all our fans for the love and affection that they have showed us and promise to come back with a BANG. Thank You.

  • Radar Love says:

    1. From what I understand, Aegean Hawks did not lodge an official protest for this match. In fact, the US Open Cup article for the Region 1 games on this site has comments from their coach or manager indicating that he did not lodge an official protest.
    2. The National Cups rules are clear about a protest as Mr. Konneh indicated, but Aegean Hawks based on their statements chose NOT to protest. Their manager (coach?) basically said that [Hawks] didn’t think the Eagles had complied with the rules, but if shoving a protest in an opposing managers face before kickoff is required, then they were not going to do that as it creates unnecessary strife between participants. I think his quote from the comments section was “Participants should focus on playing and the onus for enforcement of rules should fall to the organizers, not the participants”. This guys seems like a stand up guy.
    3. According to the national cup policies section 308, DISQUALIFICATIONS 1.(a) A team that is found to be ineligible to participate in the National Cups competition or is found to be using an ineligible player at any level of the National Cups competitions shall be disqualified from the competition.”

    That is a pretty clear statement that indicates that a team can be disqualified at any time by the organizers if they play an ineligible player.

    I understand Screaming Eagles coach’s frustration, but to make statement that the Hawks “are no match for” Screaming Eagles is pretty bold. From an objective reporter at the game with no allegiance to either team, it seemed that the Hawks showed up with only 1 sub, and the Eagles had 20 guys there – AND it sounded from that objective observer that the Hawks outplayed the Eagles for the entire second half and the last 15 minutes of the first half.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    Well, we will have to take the Coach’s words that he “didn’t file a protest.” Anyhow, I still see some hands being played under the table, no matter what anyone says about the so-called “rules”.

    @ Tom, you mentioned clubs that have been participating in these types of competitions for years and you really want to compare them with the Screaming Eagles who are first-time participants? You want to compare those clubs with all their sponsors and support to the Screaming Eagles who are self-sponsored? You guys out there have to wake up!!! Not everyone or every club have the resources your so-called “big clubs” have, but we can compete with them anytime on the soccer pitch and I believe that’s what the Screaming Eagles’ coach was referring to.

    Like I said initially, the MD Officials didn’t do enough to help their representative at Regionals. It’s simple. The Screaming Eagles are new to this, they should’ve been given all the necessary help from their State. When we first qualified for the U23 Regionals in 2008, our State (Eastern PA) MADE SURE all our ITCs were faxed to the USSF. They were the ones making calls to the USSF and hounding them until our players were cleared before the Regionals.

    On the other hand, I wish we would’ve been informed by the Eagles when they qualified. Instead of using the regular ITC which takes 30 days, I would’ve advised them to use the First Registration Form which takes 7 days!!!!

    Lastly, it’s a shame that “Excuses” would want to bring ethnicity into this but don’t worry, we will be registering so many “ethnic” clubs for next year’s qualifiers, you will have to start your own hate group. You are “smart” enough to use that pseudonym “Excuses”…

  • Josh Hakala says:

    The only contact information I was given for the Screaming Eagles was Adam Camara, and after I had received a reply from him previously, I figured it was a safe bet to try him again via email. I don’t have a schedule that allows for phone tag and I know a lot of people at the USASA level have day jobs, so I’m always pleased to find coaches/admins who use email. I sent Adam an email on April 8 at 10:11 a.m. ET congratulating him on his team’s win, and then after I heard the news about the disqualification, I emailed him again on April 12 at 11:46 a.m. I have not received a response to either.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    I do believe Josh Hakala is very credible. He was always in contact with me and the others during the Eastern PA qualifiers. I will suggest that the coach of the Eagles check his email and maybe look in the spam folder…

  • Aegean Hawks respect the Screaming Eagles and all they represent. Football is a wonderful thing that is a binding force in all our lives. It brings people and cultures together, but it can also divide us. Over the years we, the Hawks, have transitioned from a team comprised mainly of Cypriot and Greek immigrants to a mix of nationalities with only a love for the game and a desire to compete in common. Screaming Eagles have a very good team and they played with heart and determination and were a worthy opponent that beat us on the field of play 1-0. There is no disputing that. While I don’t share their coach’s assessment of their relative superiority, this fact doesn’t cause me to have anything but more respect for them than I did prior to April 7.

    FACT: The reason I knew about the player clearance issues is that I was cc:dd by the USSF on the communications sent on April 2nd and April 3rd from the registrar to the Eagles, the Region I Cups Commissioner and the MD State Cups Commissioner. Check the emails and see that my name was listed on the cc: line. Why this is the case, I have no idea. I didn’t ask to be on the email, but I was. My personal suspicion is that this was a “tip off” to me that I should prepare a protest, which I did not contemplate because we refuse to police the rules of the competition.

    FACT: If I had filed a protest on April 7, I would have won that protest. I chose not to file the protest and play the game, not as the report indicates to “let the game decide matters”, which is something I never said, but because I should only worry about my own team’s compliance and play the game. I should not be placed in a position where I have to enforce the tournament eligibility rules for my opponent.

    FACT: I did make it clear to Region I officials after the match that if nobody was enforcing the rules, why are there rules? I went further and said that if the only way to enforce the rules was for each participant to police each other, than we [the Hawks] refuse to do that. God knows, I can’t stand these clearance rules! Personally, while it is not something I would wish on any opponent, I’m glad the USASA upheld the rules, because over the years they have been a giant pain in my rear end to deal with. I akin it to fraternity hazing – I’ve been hazed so much by these rules in the past, that I wanted to make sure that if they exist, that everyone has to deal with them equally. But the bottom line is I don’t make them, so don’t blame me for their existence or the ramifications for breaking them.

    If Adam or anyone else from the Eagles needs help working through the clearance issues in the future, I offer my advice and support for a fellow group of ballers. I don’t quite understand why the Hawks have been apparently been painted as an enemy to the Eagles, a notion that offends me. I walked over to Adam before the game, shook his hand, wished him luck and told him I appreciated the flair that his team brought to the tournament. I meant every word. In my mind, I did not come to the game with any frame of mind different than any other opponent. Should I be ashamed that the tournament organizers enforced rules, and that is the mechanism through which my team has advanced to the next round? I’m not ashamed of losing any game such as that on April 7th, where for whatever reason many of my players were unavailable, but those that came competed to the best of their ability. Nor am I ashamed of being part of an institution such as USASA that, however imperfectly, is willing to enforce it’s rules.

    As for the Hawks and the notion that we are a “big club”, I find that amusing. Nobody on our team is paid to play, and I am certainly not paid to coach. In fact, we have season dues which players contribute to help cover expenses. We have had the fortune to pick up a sponsor for our team who helps mitigate some of our costs, but in essence we all volunteer and chip in financially to help the cause. What we have achieved, we have achieved through hard work, integrity, and respect for the game, our opponents, and the rules of the competitions we enter. As evidenced by my inability to have a full team at such an important game, we are just like any other amateur team that struggles with the life circumstances that makes showcasing a consistently high caliber of football week in and week out, a difficult prospect. I’m proud of our record in overcoming those hurdles to amateur athletics more often than not, and I have no doubt that the Screaming Eagles can continue to improve upon their own growing legacy.

  • gerald says:

    WOW’s comment above is of great significance. I share his opinion. What the Federation has done here is biased and outright disgraced the soccer tournament as a whole. The Federation should publicly provide rationale for the disqualification. They have not even provided an explanation to the Screaming Eagles. This leads one to believe that the entire situation was pre-arranged. Absolutely a set-up. Until all the facts and evidence are provided and made available to the team and the public, one has no choice but to smell a rat in this entire situation. The game is won and lost on the field and of course within the rules. The Knights lost the game and there is no way they should be playing on the 21 April. The Knights organization and players should be ashamed of themselves. I guess this is what is meant by “ win at all costs”. What a bunch of Losers??. Yes; you are “losers” in my book. You lost the game. Accept your fate like a man and do the right thing. I challenge the Soccer Federation to disclose your evidence. If none exists then we ought to allow the Screaming Eagles continue marching on their successful road. I am never been so ashamed of soccer in all my life. Seeing this story angers a lot of people because it is obvious there are different rules for different folks. THIS IS THE 21ST CENTURY. LET’S DO THE RIGHT THING. Let’s all continue to write and protest till justice is done toward the Screaming Eagles. Why are these young boys being punished unfairly?

  • Radar Love says:

    The frustration here is completely understandable, but unfortunately and ignorance of the rules is complicating matters. It is the players, and not the USSF, that need to provide “evidence”. If you were born in another country and came to the US after the age of 12, then you are officially ineligible to participate as a player in a USSF sanctioned tournament until the proper forms are submitted and the USSF announces that you are cleared. If you were born elsewhere, but arrived prior to the age of 12 and can provide documentation to support that claim, then the USSF reviews the material and can clear you in a matter of 24-48 hours. Again – the rules are what they are, and as stated earlier, you are either ineligible based on nothing more that the USSF has no information about you, or your are eligible. This is the exact same process in EVERY country governed by FIFA. Appeals for providing evidence, are unfortunately, fundamentally wrong in their assumptions. The USASA National Cup Polcies clearly state that decisions of the National Cups Committee that determines disqualifications are final and cannot be appealed. Again – if there is blame to be found it is to be shared between Maryland officials and Screaming Eagles and nobody else.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    You guys have to read this and see the “double standards” practiced by those he power…I said all along that something just wasn’t right….why would this other quarter final be replayed AFTER the Freedom were ALREADY SISQUALIFIED for using INELIGIBLE PLAYER?!! Oh, I forgot, NY Pancyprian Freedoms are one of the so-called “big” clubs like the Hawks…smh… #unfair… http://myemail.constantcontact.com/USASA-Region-I—US-Open-Cup-Semifinals—Schedule-Change.html?soid=1101473261556&aid=lT0FdBjAeno

  • Paul Konneh says:

    So, I don’t want anyone here talking about “rules are rules” or no “appeal process”….that’s total crap just from reading that story…shame on the entire USASA Region I….so bias…so unfair to the Eagles…that game should also be replayed!!!!!!!!

  • Josh Hakala says:

    To be fair, there are definitely valid concerns about the amount of time the Eagles were given to get their international clearances squared away. They should have been notified sooner, absolutely. There are some who have said, the team should have done this research prior to entering … also a fair point. However, I think there’s a major difference between the two disqualifications though: In one game (Eagles vs. Hawks), the team received notification that they had 9 players that were not cleared and chose to play them anyway, and were disqualified for it. Debate the fairness of the rules or the procedure that took place all you like, the ruling was “these 9 players aren’t eligible” and they were on the gameday roster anyway. The Hawks did not protest the match, this was a violation that the USASA noticed, and took their own action (which they are entitled to, and should do when necessary). In the other game (Freedoms vs. Newtown), the team submitted their roster and it was cleared by the league and it turned out that the league made the mistake, not the team. And since the team did nothing wrong, and won the original game, the USASA National Cups Committee ruled that the match should be replayed at the original site (in Newtown, on short notice). Objectively speaking, that seems like a reasonable way to resolve that situation. But I don’t see how the two are similar.

    SIDE NOTE: No offense to Jon Knight and his Hawks team, who have been one of the most consistent teams out of Region I since they first entered back in 2006 (I believe), but it seems a little bit absurd to lump a pay-to-play, self-supported DC/VA club like the Hawks in with a ‘big club’ like the Freedoms, who have been around for decades. There aren’t many “big clubs” in amateur soccer, but the Freedoms’ success (3 US Open Cup titles in 1980, 1982, 1983 …just to name a few) and support over the years have probably earned themselves a “big club” title and I don’t think that’s a bad thing. I wish more historic clubs like theirs would enter the US Open Cup more often, but that’s a discussion for another day.

    I mean, to use a baseball reference, I sort of look at the Hawks like the Minnesota Twins (ignore the last 2 years). Winning the AL Central Division 6 out of 9 years (2002-2010), made them a very good ballclub that should be respected, but no one ever confused them with the Yankees.

  • gerald says:

    The Hawks lost again this weekend. Will the Federation help them again by disqualifying ICON FC.
    That seems to be the only way to keep the Hawks in the tournament. Obviously they can’t perform in the field where it counts.

  • Josh Hakala says:

    Unless Icon FC received an email from the USASA prior to the game telling them not to play certain players and they chose to play them anyway, then I don’t foresee the game getting overturned. Congrats to Icon FC. It’s always nice to get some new blood in the tournament.

  • Paul Konneh says:

    Both results (ICON FC vs. Aegean Hawks and NEWTOWN SC vs. NY Pancyprian) were great news to my ears!!

    The Hawks and Freedom didn’t deserved to be given a second chance or “helped” by USASA.

    Now, I can support our Region I representatives who DESERVE to be in the 100th Edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup!!!!

    Way to go Newtown and Icon, you have my support!!!!

  • Tom says:

    Jesus Christ ! Do you guys not get it ? The Eagles are a great team and probably should be there. I refereed you guys ! You think you can just show up and play ! It doesn’t work that way on the higher level. You guys knew you were a good team but why do you wait to put your ducks in order. I have seen you have lots of excuses. (all F’n yr you are good and you can’t have everything in order at the end of the day)

  • Paul Konneh says:

    @ Tom, your comment shows how immature you are….I believe you are one of the “biased” referees in the country…how the hell did you even get a badge?!!!

    I think you should be refereeing elementary school matches or Under-6s before you are allowed to referee any match of such magnitude….

    you can only get your points across by using abusive words?…so childish and unprofessional… so-called “referee”…smdh

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