Chattanooga FC will compete on Tuesday, May 14, in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup Tournament — the oldest ongoing soccer competition in the US, since 1913— potentially facing professional teams from leagues like the North American Soccer League (NASL), the United Soccer Leagues Pro (USL Pro) and even Major League Soccer (MLS).
Chattanooga FC will face the Carolina Dynamo of the Premier Development League (PDL) in Greensboro, NC. The PDL is extremely similar to CFC's league, the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL) — mainly amateur and mostly made up of college players. The Dynamo was a national finalist in the PDL last season, just like CFC was a national finalist in the NPSL.
Chattanooga FC made an aggressive bid to host the game at Finley, but, in the end was not awarded it. The tournament champion wins $250,000 and the runner-up wins $60,000. While it is unlikely for an all-amateur team like CFC to go that far, there still is an opportunity to win $15,000 by advancing farther than any other amateur team.
Not only is the Open Cup tournament a great chance for CFC's young players to test their skills against professional competitors, it is also a great opportunity to get noticed by professional clubs. A good performance could mean a chance to go pro.
Chattanooga FC automatically qualified for the US Open Cup by winning the National Premier Soccer League's Southeast Conference in 2012. Chattanooga FC played in the US Open Cup in 2011 after winning a tournament against other Southeast Conference opponents (including an exhilarating 1-0 win in the last minutes of overtime against bitter rival Atlanta Silverbacks Reserves). The club went on to play the pro team Pittsburgh Riverhounds in Pennsylvania, losing 3-2 in overtime.
"The entire team and coaching staff are very excited about the opportunity to play in such a prestigious tournament," said CFC Head Coach Bill Elliott. "We look forward to playing our very best and advancing in the US Open Cup.”
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is a knockout tournament in American soccer. The tournament is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. and is currently open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated teams, from amateur adult club teams to the professional clubs of Major League Soccer.
Worldwide, soccer builds community, shapes culture, develops talent and unites diverse peoples. Chattanooga Football Club is helping the same happen right here in Chattanooga, creating true opportunity for all players and great entertainment for all fans. Chattanooga FC is a member team of the National Premier Soccer League, Southeast Region. The NPSL is sanctioned by the USASA as an affiliate of the United States Soccer Federation (USSF), and FIFA, the world’s governing body for soccer.