BYU men earn spot in U.S. Open Cup

A college team has qualified for the first round of the 2007 U.S. Open Cup.

Brigham Young University, which plays in the amateur PDL, hosts the California Victory of the USL-1 on June 14 in a first-round match at BYU South Stadium.

With nine returning starters, the Cougars are expected to challenge for the PDL's Northwest Division title. Going into Friday's game at Ogden, BYU is in first place with a 4-1-0 record. The Cougars clinched their Open Cup berth with a 3-1 win at the Spokane Spiders last Saturday. Defender Hugh Van Wagenen earned PDL Team of the Week honors for his work.

The Cougars are coached by Chris Watkins, who led the Cougars to five national collegiate club championships. In 2003, BYU purchased a Premier Development League franchise, becoming the first university-sponsored soccer program to ever acquire a franchise that competes at a level considered higher than NCAA soccer.

BYU warmed up for the 2007 season with a weeklong trip to Chile, where the Cougars played teams representing three pro teams and participated in a service project.

BYU played against three teams in the top division. The Cougars BYU tied Universidad Catolica and Universidad de Chile, 1-1, and then lost to Nublense 3-1.

"It was fantastic," Watkins said. "It's an absolute dream come true to play such quality teams and to have such an opportunity with all the members down there."

BYU has a women's varsity program that competes in NCAA competition. No Utah school competes at the NCAA Division I men's level.

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