Thursday, February 17, 2011
US Soccer has released its schedule for the 2011 US Open Cup, and for the first time, the NPSL has gained four automatic qualification slots. The qualification process for the NPSL slots has not been finalized and will be released in a few weeks.
The US Open Cup is single elimination tournament similar to the FA Cup in which teams from all level of the game in America compete. In the past, the NPSL teams would participate in the US Amateur Soccer Associations (USASA) regional qualification process. Atlanta FC (now the Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves) qualified through this process in 2008 and was knocked out of the tournament the fully professional Charleston Battery.
RCU has participated in the tournament each of the past three years, but has failed to qualify for the US Open Cup. The addition of 4 automatic berths may benefit NPSL teams. The late spring timing of the USASA's qualification often punished NPSL teams who were largely composed of college players who had not been released from their school commitments and could not participate.