UPDATE: “Justice” from South Texas dropped out of the tournament, leaving nine teams. The format will now be three groups of three.
The southeastern part of the country will take part in US Open Cup qualifying as Region III of the USASA confirmed their participants in the annual competition. 10 teams from Texas, Florida, Georgia, Alabama, North Carolina and Oklahoma will battle for two spots in the 2010 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. While the format for this year’s tournament has yet to be announced, it’s likely that it will remain the same as it has been since 2004 with two representatives advancing from each of the four USASA regions.
The Region III tourney will be held in Tuscaloosa, Ala. at the University of Alabama Recreational Center from May 28-31. The customary blind draw will be held Thursday, May 27, the night before the opening day. With 10 entries, group play is the format of choice to determine the region’s two entrants. For the last six years, the teams have been separated into two round-robin groups with the winner of each group moving on to the national competition.
Returning to the Region III tournament are Legends FC (North Texas), Atlanta FC (Georgia), Pumas USA (NPSL – Alabama), Rocket City United (NPSL – Alabama), and ASC New Stars (South Texas).
Atlanta FC qualified for the US Open Cup last year in their second year as a franchise. They would fall in their inaugural trip to the big dance, losing 3-0 to the Charleston Battery of the USL First Division. ASC New Stars also bring some brief Open Cup experience into the mix, as the Houston-based club qualified in 2008 but also lost to the Battery in their first match.
Both National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) clubs from the state of Alabama return to the competition. Last year, Rocket City United failed to advance with a 1-2-0 group record, while Pumas USA fell one goal short of qualifying for the Open Cup in their debut. In the end, Pumas were left out due to the goals scored tiebreaker with Lynch’s FC, the most experienced Open Cup club in Region III.
Lynch’s FC, who have qualified for the Open Cup three times (2003, 2006, 2009), more than any other Florida-based amateur club and will be joined by Dallas-based Legends FC who are two-time entrants (2004, 2006).
New entries include the Brazil Soccer Academy from Florida, a club called ‘Justice’ from South Texas, CASL Elite from North Carolina and an NPSL expansion club from Oklahoma, FC Tulsa. The NPSL newcomers are attempting to become the first Oklahoma club to make the Open Cup since 1999 (Los Lobos lost in the first round to the Wilmington Hammerheads, 8-1).
2010 USASA Region III US Open Cup tournament
May 28-31 | Tuscaloosa, Ala. – University of Alabama Recreational Center
ASC New Stars (South Texas): Qualified for the first time in 2008 (Lost to Charleston Battery, 3-0)
Atlanta FC (NPSL – Georgia): Qualified for the first time in 2009 (Lost to Charleston Battery, 2-0)
Brazil Soccer Academy (Florida): First Region III tournament appearance
FC Tulsa (NPSL – Oklahoma): First Region III tournament appearance
Justice (South Texas): First Region III tournament appearance (WITHDREW)
Legends FC (North Texas): 2-time US Open Cup qualifier (2004, 2006)
Lynch’s FC (Florida): 3-time US Open Cup qualifier (2003, 2007, 2009)
CASL Elite (North Carolina): First Region III tournament appearance
Pumas USA (NPSL – Alabama): Second straight Region III app.
Rocket City United (NPSL – Alabama): Second straight Region III app.