FC Kendall poses for a team photo after a 4-2 win over Nashville United in the 2018 US Open Cup qualifying tournament. Photo: FC Kendall
FC Kendall were founded as Uruguay Kendall FC in 2008 “to represent the Uruguayan roots of its founders and majority of its players in the local league of Kendall.”
They have since evolved into not only the preeminent football club in Kendall, Fla. but one of the top amateur sides in the Southeast. They have expanded both their focus and their player base beyond the Miami area’s Uruguayan community. As a result, the club changed their name to reflect this broader focus and status while respecting their proud roots, becoming FC Kendall last summer.
FC Kendall are an original member of the American Premier Soccer League (APSL), founded in 2015. The Florida league is a USASA-recognized Elite Amateur League boasting the membership of Boca Raton FC, burgeoning rival Red Force FC, and US Open Cup first-round opponent: Miami United FC, who field a team in both the National Premier Soccer League and the APSL.
Several clubs with sides in the APSL will be playing in the Open Cup this year but FC Kendall’s path was perhaps the most arduous. Despite handily dismissing their two Florida opponents in qualifying by a combined score of 15-0, Kendall were done no favors for their final Open Cup entrance examination.
The light blues would have to endure one of the longest trips of the qualifying tournament, all the way to Tennessee, to take on Nashville United. Furthermore, having flown out the morning before the game, the Floridians faced not only a venue change on account of bad weather, but also a tornado warning.
Club president Mauro Grignola labeled the game “the most important game in the club’s ten-year history” and their squad, featuring former professionals, were up to the task.
Both Argentine Gonzalo De Mujica and the experienced Uruguayan-born Martin Nunez plied their trade for the Strikers in the NASL and both were key to the victory in Nashville. With this veteran core supported by the likes of former FC Edmonton player Cristian Raudales, Ex-FIU captain Daniel Gonzalez, and prolific attacker Santiago Schmid, FC Kendall should not be taken lightly by their Open Cup opposition.
Geographically sandwiched between the footballing powerhouses of Brazil and Argentina, Uruguay has forged its own rich history on the global stage. With two world cup victories, only Brazil, Germany, and Italy have won more world titles than this plucky footballing nation of just under four million people. So FC Kendall, who don the colors of the national team, will surely be hoping to channel this Uruguayan spirit of cup success in their first ever US Open Cup appearance.