Cosmos search for elusive pathway into 2018 Open Cup

The latest grievance the Cosmos have with U.S. Soccer regards the exclusion of the three remaining NASL teams -- Miami FC, Jacksonville Armada and the Cosmos -- from this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

The problem for the three teams is that there is no pathway in U.S. Soccer's U.S. Open Cup policies to claim eligibility to participate in the tournament since the NASL announced it will not operate in 2018.

Teams qualify via one of two paths:

-- As a member of an outdoor pro league; or
-- As a team selected from the Open Division.

Since the NASL is not operating in 2018, the only path for participation is via the Open Division. The problem: The NPSL, in which the three NASL teams will field teams in 2018, bases its 2018 Open Cup entrants on 2017 records, just like the PDL does. Other amateur teams enter via regional qualifying held over three rounds in the fall.

In a letter to U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro and U.S. Soccer secretary general Dan Flynn, New York Cosmos owner Rocco Commisso, the chairman of the NASL's board of governors, asked U.S. Soccer to consider three steps:

1. Remove first-year MLS club LA Football Club and first-year USL clubs Fresno FC, Las Vegas, Nashville SC from the competition;
2. Remove the three PDL under-23 amateur teams operated by MLS or USL teams -- the New York Red Bulls, Portland Timbers and OKC Energy FC -- from the competition; or
3. Take any other step that would allow the three NASL clubs to compete.

First-year teams in pro leagues are allowed to participate, per Section 202(b)(3), as long as they set their schedule by Jan. 31 and play their first game at least days before their pro division enters the Open Cup.

While Section 202(b)(4) excludes pro teams owned or materially managed by other pro clubs from taking part in the Open Cup, it does not exclude Open Division teams that are registered as amateur teams, like the PDL U-23 teams.

Commisso also suggested U.S. Soccer change its policies in two areas:

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-- Prohibit multiple teams from one club from taking part in the competition; and
-- Be consistent on the rules for Pro League and Open Division entrants ("open" vs. "merit-based qualification" and eligibility based on movement between leagues).

He gave the U.S. Soccer board until next Wednesday to resolve the issue or he said the three NASL teams will "pursue other possible courses of action."

1 comment about "Cosmos search for elusive pathway into 2018 Open Cup".
  1. Wallace Wade, March 16, 2018 at 12:43 p.m.

    Things continue to become worse and worse for soccer in this country. We had a chance for change and instead settled for status quo corporate Mc-francises to rule over ALL soccer leagues and real Clubs in this country. Nowhere but down from here. As NFL billionaire dictate to lapdogs and lackey’s of USSF, the game continues to be “created by the poor and stolen by the rich”! Don’t support these people with your money, instead, give support to your local Club or Association. 

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