On the day that it was learned that the US Soccer Federation will not be allowing Major League Soccer-owned USL clubs into the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, next year’s tournament field got one team lighter. The defending National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) champion New York Cosmos B, which acts as a reserve team for the Cosmos senior team, made it public through Twitter that they do not intend to participate in the 103rd edition of the tournament, as was originally announced last month.
According to Erik Stover, the COO for the New York Cosmos, the policy changes do not apply to his club, but they had made the decision prior to the changes being brought to light. He posted the following on Twitter:
When TheCup.us followed up with Stover, he expanded on the timing of his tweet.
“We made the decision not to put our B team in the Open Cup before the new rule was announced. We just spoke about it publicly for the first time today because there was some discussion resulting from US Soccer’s announcement today,” said Stover. “Regardless, US Soccer’s intent is clear and we completely agree with their point of view. We also think that the federation will close that loophole (of having the same club entering multiple teams) in the future.”
“It’s a pretty simple decision for us because it’s kind of ridiculous to have two teams in the same tournament,” added Stover. “The most basic issue is that we could conceivably end up playing ourselves which is not good from anyone’s point of view. Plus, we’ve been faced with the possibility of playing other teams’ reserve teams over the past two years and it wasn’t hard for us to imagine potential conflicts. I’m not saying anything questionable ever happened or would happen in the future, but your imagination can run a bit wild when thinking about these things. So, we decided last year that we didn’t want to force other clubs and the federation into discussing the integrity of the tournament for matches that Cosmos B played.”
The question now is who will replace the defending NPSL champions? Based on the system that determined the 13 NPSL entries from 2016 US Open Cup, there are a couple of scenarios. If the federation decides to replace them with a team from the Northeast, then the order of selection would be Chesterfield United, followed by Virginia Beach City FC, and Seacoast United Phantoms. If they decide to take the next team in the overall standings, it would be the Madison 56ers, the San Diego Flash, followed by Corinthians FC.
The deadline for professional teams to register for the 2016 US Open Cup is Dec. 31, 2015, so the number of amateur teams that will take part in the competition could change.
Stay tuned as we await further details about these changes to the tournament.