Stanislaus United Turlock Express becomes first team to represent US Club Soccer in the US Open Cup
CHARLESTON, S.C. (May 14, 2012) – With a 3-0 victory over the NPSL’s Bay Area Ambassadors on April 28 in Richmond, Calif., Stanislaus United Turlock Express will represent US Club Soccer in the 99th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
It is the first time that a team representing US Club Soccer will participate in the tournament, the oldest cup competition in United States soccer. US Club Soccer was awarded a half-berth in the event for the second time in three years. Stanislaus United Turlock Express, from the U-23 NorCal Premier League, advanced through US Club Soccer’s qualifying process in order to face a representative from the NPSL for a berth in the 64-team bracket.
Stanislaus United Turlock Express will host the PDL’s Fresno Fuego in a first-round match, which will be played at 7 p.m. PT on May 15 at Academica Field. The winner of that contest will travel to the NASL’s Fort Lauderdale Strikers on May 22 in the second round, with an opponent from Major League Soccer waiting in round three.
Based out of Turlock, Calif., Stanislaus United Turlock Express epitomizes US Club Soccer’s “members for life” club culture as many players have been competing together for 10 years, dating back to their days of youth soccer. This has enabled players to create strong connections within their club and also the community.
“Some of these guys have played together since U-12,” Reis explained. “We have always tried to help out disadvantaged kids. This program has influenced a lot of kids to go to college. I’m very proud to be a part of US Club Soccer.”
Stanislaus United Turlock Express is comprised of players as young as 16 and as old as 27 and represents a club which was one of the first to join US Club Soccer, doing so in March 2002.
Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup has established a tradition as a prestigious event that brings together teams from all different levels of soccer competition for a bracketed tournament taking place throughout the summer. MLS teams debuted in 1996 and since then have won the Cup every year with the exception of 1999 (Rochester Rhinos). For the past three years, the event has been won by Seattle Sounders FC.
The event expanded in 2012 from 40 to 64 teams, highlighted by the 16 MLS teams from the United States that will enter in the third round of the bracket. In addition, there are 16 teams from the PDL, 10 teams from USL Pro, nine teams from USASA, six teams from the NASL, six teams from the NPSL, and one representing US Club Soccer.
Stanislaus United Turlock Express earned its place in the U.S. Open Cup with 3-0 triumph over the Bay Area Ambassadors of the NPSL on April 28. Leading the way for the squad was Salvador Vergara, who tallied a pair of goals in the match.
“I think that the Ambassadors had an opportunity early in the game to put away,” said Stanislaus United Director of Coaching Antonio Reis. “Our defense was able to neutralize their speedy forward and stay with him. Our keeper works very hard in practice, is enthusiastic and focused, and played a great game.”
The players are eagerly looking forward to their U.S. Open Cup match against the Fuego, believing that their combination of skills and strong work ethic in practice will serve them well.
“We think that we have quite good ball management. We don’t have the size and speed but we can manage the ball,” summarized Reis. “Fresno has great speed, so we have to play a little bit more compact when we defend and not allow their forwards in the back. We have to practice hard to keep the ball and hopefully strike right out of the gate. The players are excited. I think there is an opportunity there that is almost like a gift to them for the hard work they’ve put out.”
Stanislaus United Turlock Express will make history for US Club Soccer when it takes the field on May 15.
|ABOUT US CLUB SOCCER:|
US Club Soccer is a non-profit organization committed to the development and support of soccer clubs and players in the United States. A National Association member of the U.S. Soccer Federation, US Club Soccer maximizes flexibility and offers youth and adult player and staff registration, integrated competition platforms at the recreational and competitive levels, as well as a a variety of other programming, including the Olympic Developmen Program-sanctioned id2 National Player Identification and Development Program.
Unique to US Club Soccer is the ability of member clubs to unite youth and adult programs under one organizational umbrella, creating a “members for life” culture within each club.