A scene from the first half of the First Round match between West Chester United and FC Baltimore Christos in the 2019 US Open Cup. Photo: @finchamphoto
The National Premier Soccer League’s (NPSL) Mid-Atlantic Conference is not playing enough games this season to be eligible for the 2020 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. All five teams in that conference will not be able to enter next year’s US Open Cup as the schedule currently stands.
The five teams in the conference include 2018 entry FC Baltimore Christos, Northern Virginia United, Virginia Beach City FC, FC Frederick, and Charlottesville Alliance FC. They would have to add more matches to the schedule in order to become eligible.
To enter the US Open Cup, clubs must be part of a sanctioned league by US Soccer or an affiliate organization. US Soccer defines a league as having at least 4 teams and each team playing a schedule of at least 10 matches. This is fully defined in Section 202 (a) of the US Open Cup policy.
To enter the Open Cup, a team must be an outdoor soccer team based in the United States and a regular playing member in good standing competing in an ongoing league competition of an Organization Member of the Federation, with said league competition and Organization Member also in good standing with the Federation. Such league competition must be regularly scheduled (i.e. not infrequent) each year and formatted such that member teams play games against fellow members, with only these results (i.e. league matches) used to determine a set of standings or ranking table. The league competition must consist of at least four (4) teams, with each playing at least ten (10) league matches (excluding any pre-season and/or post-season playoff or cup matches) each calendar year.
As of publication, the current schedule consists of eight matches for each of the five teams in the Mid-Atlantic Conference.
The NPSL Mid-Atlantic Conference decided on a balanced, double round robin schedule for each of its teams. A balanced schedule is not required by US Soccer or the NPSL. There are three conferences that play an unbalanced schedule in the NPSL. The other ten conferences play a balanced, double round robin schedule.
NPSL Conferences not playing a double round robin schedule:
- Northwest Conference (5 teams, 10 matches per team, 2 opponents twice, 2 opponents three times)
- Keystone Conference (9 teams, 10 matches per team, 6 opponents once, 2 opponents twice)
- Golden Gate Conference (8 teams, 11 matches per team, 3 opponents once, 4 opponents twice)
NPSL was reached for comment on this and released the following statement:
“The 2019 Mid-Atlantic Conference schedule is not yet finalized. The NPSL is aware of the U.S. Open Cup rules, and will abide by them so the teams are eligible for the 2020 tournament.”
According to the NPSL, the schedules are in the process of being altered and an announcement will be made when it’s finalized. A league spokesman told TheCup.us that the process of altering a schedule once the season is already under way is rare, but not unprecedented.
As long as each team in that conference plays two more games in the regular season, they will be eligible for the 2020 US Open Cup.