USSF: NASL teams will not be eligible for 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

Posted by | February 14, 2011

In a conference call to discuss the US Soccer Federation’s provisional sanctioning of the North American Soccer League (NASL), US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said the eight-team league will not be taking part in the 2011 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. Five of the eight teams in the NASL — Carolina RailHawks, FC Tampa Bay Rowdies, Atlanta Silverbacks, NSC Minnesota Stars and Miami FC — will not participate due to the fact that a change to the Open Cup format at this stage of planning would be difficult.

Gulati said during the conference call, “It’s simply too late to incorporate them into the process in the various phases of the tournament. The timing does not work for the five U.S.-based teams to participate in this annual event.” He added, “It’s impossible to put them into [the US Open Cup]. They’re not going to play this year.”

This marks the first time in the Professional Era (1995-present) that a pro league will not be taking part in the tournament. The last time a professional league was not represented in the Open Cup was when the previous North American Soccer League(1968-1984) refused to enter throughout the league’s 17-year existence. In 1996, the USISL Pro League did not enter a club into the Open Cup, but that was due to the qualification tournament created by the USISL, which merged all the leagues together into one competition. None of the USISL Pro teams survived the qualifying tournament.

The format for the 2011 US Open Cup has not been released, and it is unknown when it will be announced and how many teams will ultimately take part in the tournament. The last two years, the format was announced on May 5, 2010 and April 30, 2009.

The three remaining clubs, all of which are not eligible because they are not based in the United States, are still competing in their own cup competitions. The Canadian-based teams, FC Edmonton and the Montreal Impact will be taking part in the Canadian Nutrilite Championship and the Puerto Rico Islanders will also continue to participate in the Caribbean Football Union championships. Both tournaments lead to a berth in the CONCACAF Champions League.

Currently there are a number of states who have either completed or are conducting their Open Cup qualifying tournament for the USASA.  Check back with TheCup.us with a recap of all the state qualifying to this point.

10 Comments

  • Neal says:

    This seems CRAZY … there seems to be plenty of time to figure out the format … solution should not really any different than the last seasons where D2 teams participated in the USOC.

    Where is the leadership … come on USSF, get with it.

    Respectfully. Peace and futbol.

  • jw7 says:

    Then I guess it’s not a real Open Cup then is it.

    US Closed Cup 2011

    Humm, kinda has a nice ring to it, expect to hear it a few more times this season…

  • AugustePDX says:

    This marks the first time in the Professional Era (1995-present) that a pro league will not be taking part in the tournament.

    So…MLS isn’t playing in it, either?

  • bodey says:

    If Gulati and the USSF had not waited so long to sanction the NASL it would not have been impossible. If the format has not been released and it is unknown when it will be announced, it would appear that the 5 NASL teams could participate. Sunil, you are disgracing the name Lamar Hunt. If I give you five bucks do you think you might be able to buy a clue?

    Hard to call it an “open cup”… 2011 US CLOSED CUP

  • meh says:

    “The format for the 2011 US Open Cup has not been released, and it is unknown when it will be announced and how many teams will ultimately take part in the tournament. The last two years, the format was announced on May 5, 2010 and April 30, 2009.”

    That means USSF still has two and a half months to change the format. Are you kidding me – they can’t be bothered to update the format given two and a half month’s time to get it done? Is this a joke?

  • Embele says:

    That is the most ridiculous thing I’ve heard. This tournament and the chance to play a MLS team is one of the highlights of the NASL season.
    Very disrespectful to say “you are pro but won’t play any other pro league in the US”
    No time to figure out how to qualify is ridiculous when there are ONLY FIVE TEAMS>
    5 NASL+ 11 USL vs 16 Amateur teams. Winners play for right to meet the eight MLS teams.
    There, Sunil. I just figured out your format for you

  • bfv says:

    Or, perhaps commitments had already been made to the lower levels based upon the previous non-sanctioning of NASL.

  • Futsal Fred says:

    Did some of you guys miss what happened?

    NASL barely – by one vote, which overturned the technical committee’s recommendation against sanctioning – NASL is going to be allowed to play this year.

    So now that they’ve got a provisional sanctioning thanks to Sunil Gulatis’ willingness to break the rules in order to get them in, NOW you’re ticked because he isn’t willing to revamp the US Open Cup for you as well?

    Yeah that makes sense.

    Be grateful that you’re going to be allowed to play at all and stop complaining about not being treated like a legitimate entity.

    Gulati used up a lot of credibility on NASL’s behalf and most of USSF is royally frosted about it. Try thanking him instead of dumping on him and maybe he’ll try to keep you alive next year too, instead of letting i crash and burn.

  • soccertom1212 says:

    It is not impossible. I just worked it all out in an overall better format than is currently set up and it only took me like 4 hours to work out. It could be completed in 8 rounds of actual tournament play… along with a few preliminary rounds for the amateur leagues (NPSL, USASA, USL PDL). If you give me an email address, I’d be more than happy to send you the format. I’d like to send it out to whoever wants it. It could work, because not all the USASA Regions have completed their compentition and from what I can tell from web sites NPSL has not started play yet.However, it looks like some season schedules have already been release which would probably be the issue since travel arrangements may have already been made.

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