The San Diego Flash of the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) are anxious to play their first Lamar Hunt US Open Cup game since 2001, but they will have to wait another week. As the Flash were preparing to host their first round match at Mira Mesa High School, team officials from their opponent, US Club Socer representative SC Corinthians USA contacted them to tell them that they will have to forfeit the match.
“Josias Baptiste of Corinthians called me today to inform me that they had to forfeit the match,” said Flash CEO Clenton Alexander. “My initial reaction was that I felt bad for him and his players. At the same time, I felt really bad for our fans and players here in San Diego.”
“The good news is that we move and play again here in San Diego next Wednesday,” said Alexander. “We still plan on putting on a good show for our fans.”
The Flash, who are managed by Fox Soccer analyst Warren Barton, will now host the winner of tonight’s match between PSA Elite (USASA) and the Los Angeles Misioneros (PDL) on May 14.
Corinthians, who are managed by former Brazilian international Palhinha (Jorge Ferreira da Silva), clinched their first US Open Cup berth by defeating fellow California club Juventus Black 5-0 in the US Club Soccer final on Saturday, April 26. According to Batptiste, the club’s general manager, he was informed that the team needed to acquire international clearances for a number of their players less than a week later.
“US Soccer informed us on Friday that we had to get international clearances for our match today ,” said Baptiste, who says about 80 percent of his roster are made up of international players. After submitting the paperwork, they were informed that there was not enough time to approve their roster before the tournament kicked off on May 7, and the team would have to forfeit.
While forfeits tend to occasionally happen in qualifying tournaments, it’s been a decade since the US Open Cup had a team forfeit during the competition. The last time it occurred was in 2003 when the Chesapeake Dragons of the PDL moved on after the Bridgeport Italians (USASA – Connecticut) were found to have fielded an ineligible player in their opening round match.
Baptiste says his entire organization is disappointed not to compete in their first tournament, and while they are still awaiting answers as to why they weren’t informed earlier about the roster requirements, they are taking a ‘lesson learned’ approach to the news. The club will now shift their focus on their plans to joining the San Diego Flash in the NPSL. Baptiste says the team will join the league as an expansion team in 2015.