Region III Adult Soccer of the United States Adult Soccer Association announced the field of teams that will compete in the Regional National Cup Championship, unveiling eight teams from Florida, Louisiana, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina and South Texas. The draw for the competition will take place, as it is annually, on the eve of the tournament, May 26. The tournament will be held on Memorial Day weekend in Tuscaloosa, Alabama at the University of Alabama Recreational Center.
Returning from the competition a year ago are CASL Elite (North Carolina) and ASC New Stars (South Texas). Joining them will be Regals FC (South Texas), Greenville Eagles (South Carolina), Crossroads Alexandria (Louisiana), Boston Athletic (Oklahoma) and the Florida duo of Royal Eagles and Florida Gators.
Last year, the Region III tournament consisted of group play with the two group winners advancing not only to the Region III Championship game, but also as the two representatives in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup conducted by the US Soccer Federation.
CASL Elite are the defending champions, finishing atop their group a year ago with a 2-0-1 record and narrowly defeating Legends FC (North Texas) in the Final, 1-0, on a goal from former professional Steven Curfman.
The other returning team, ASC New Stars, had an opposite experience last year, going winless at 0-2-1. They posted a 1-1 draw against the NPSL’s Atlanta FC in the opener before falling 2-0 to FC Tulsa (NPSL) in the second game later that day as the tournament was forced to double up matches following lightning cancellations the day prior. They finished group play with a 3-1 loss to CASL Elite.
Half of the field a year ago included clubs from the National Premier Soccer League, which will have its own qu
alification process for direct berths into the US Open Cup this year. Two NPSL clubs from Alabama and Oklahoma finished runners-up in the two groups. Tournament host Alabama will not have any representatives after being the lone state with two teams last year.
“I like our chances of getting out of the qualifier, most of the other clubs expected to participate are generally very competitive, but do not train like our guys do,” said Regals FC head coach Miguel Landaverde. “This will give us a bit of an advantage over a three game stretch. We will take it one match at a time and try and force teams into our game, stretching the field with a lot of touches.”
About the Teams
ASC New Stars (South Texas): The New Stars are the top-flight side from the Houston-based Aria Soccer Club that was founded in 1974. The team was winless a year ago (0-2-1) in the Region III tournament, but qualified previously in 2008 for the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, finishing runners-up in a 2-1 decision against Clearwater Galactics (FL) for the regional title. They were blanked, 3-0, by the USL First Division’s Charleston Battery (pro second division) in the First Round. They participated in the regionals in 2006, finishing second in their group after withdrawing the previous year.
Boston Athletic from Oklahoma
Boston Athletic (Oklahoma): The entrants are believed to be what the Oklahoma Soccer Association lists as the Tulsa-based BAAC Reserves, who won the Adult State Cup Division I tournament in mid March. They advanced with a 2-1 victory over COASL IFC in the championship of the three-team event, which also included Ponca City Tiburones.
CASL Elite (North Carolina): The defending tournament champions are a side developed in 2009 by the Capital Area Soccer League designed initially to provide higher caliber scrimmage opposition for its youth teams by utilizing former Premier Development League and adult CASL alumni. The team won the Region III championship in its first campaign to qualify for the US Open Cup, where it was eliminated in the First Round, 4-2, by the Charleston Battery of the USL Second Division (pro third division). CASL also previously operated a PDL team from 2002-09, reaching the US Open Cup in its first two years, exiting both times in the Second Round. (MORE: Meet the USASA CASL Elite)
Crossroads Alexandria (Louisiana): The team appears to be a representative of Crossroads Soccer Association located in Alexandria. CSA operates adult, youth and indoor soccer in the area.
Florida Gators (Florida): The team is, according to TheCup.us records, the first university to submit their club team to participate in USASA’s Open Cup qualifying process. Founded in 1953 by Alan “A.C.” Moore, Florida holds the title as the oldest university club soccer team in the country. Moore coached the club from 1953-1990, earning over 500 wins at UF. They were narrowly defeated, 3-2, by the Royal Eagles for the state championship, the lone match held.
Greenville Eagles (South Carolina): The side is largely unknown, but advanced from the South Carolina tournament, held April 9-10 in Myrtle Beach. Details of the tournament are currently unavailable, but the Eagles defeated Sin Bandera of Summerville for the state’s division one men’s title.
Regals FC (South Texas): Based in Houston, the club is a founding member of the new Southern Premier Soccer League. Aside from local league competition, Regals FC has played friendlies versus FC Dallas of MLS and Mexico’s Puebla FC. The club recently won the SPSL Winter Season title and also secured the top seed in the Houston Soccer Association championship tournament.
Royal Eagles (Florida): Launched in 2009 in the Lakeland area, east of Tampa, and during their brief existence, they’ve experienced nothing but success. They were undefeated in Division 3 of the Florida Suncoast Soccer Leagues (FSSL), winning the league and the Florida Classic tournament in their inaugural campaign. The following year, because of their high level of play, the FSSL approved an unprecedented jump from Division 3 to the Premier Division. They edged Florida Gators, the only other state entrant, in a thrilling 3-2 decision for the state title.