The night before they were scheduled to host Corinthians FC of San Antonio in the opening round of the 2016 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup, the North Texas Rayados learned that they had been disqualified.
According to North Texas player/coach Tito Salas, the reason given by the US Soccer Federation was because the Rayados did not participate in the North Texas Premier Soccer League this past season due to injuries and player availability. In order to be eligible to participate in the US Open Cup, teams must be active in a USSF-sanctioned league.
“It’s disappointing,” said Salas. “[We’re] moving forward with a positive attitude. We plan to stay active active year-round. We’ll learn from this.”
North Texas were planning to take part in their fifth straight US Open Cup, an open division record for the Modern Era, and were set to host a tournament game for the first time on Wednesday night.
The US Soccer Federation explained the decision in a statement:
U.S. Open Cup Policy 203(a) states in part: “Teams entering the Open Cup shall use their official league roster as their Open Cup roster.”
Having skipped playing in their league’s 2016 spring season, Rayados does not have any players currently registeredwith their league. With no existing league roster, the team has no eligible players for their 2016 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup roster.
According to US Soccer spokesperson Neil Buethe, the issue was discovered during a roster check with the North Texas Soccer Association. North Texas was eligible to compete in the open division qualifying tournament in the fall because they were active in the North Texas Premier Soccer League at the time. When the team pulled out of the league’s spring season, that’s what led to the disqualification.
Unfortunately for Corinthians FC, according to Jon Arnold, the team had already arrived in Dallas for Wednesday’s game before they were alerted of the disqualification late Tuesday night.
With the decision, Corinthians FC gets a free pass into Round 2 where they will face the USL’s San Antonio FC at Toyota Field on May 18 at 8 p.m. ET.
Corinthians are happy to move on, but they expressed their sympathies to their disqualified opponents: