KINGSTON, N.Y. — Heading in to the 2017 NPSL season, Kingston Stockade FC had three clear, yet lofty, goals.
Number one? Win the conference. (Check.)
Number two? Make the playoffs. (Check.)
Number three? Qualify for the 2018 U.S. Open Cup.
Stockade had to wait a few months after the season finished to find out whether they'd delivered on the third goal. But the club received some pretty massive news on Wednesday.
In a huge achievement for the ambitious Hudson Valley club, US Soccer announced today that Stockade FC would be taking part in the vaunted 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
Stockade qualified for the highly regarded knockout tournament by virtue of winning the Atlantic White conference and finishing as one of the top 19 teams (the number of cup spots granted to the league this year) in the entire NPSL for the 2017 season.
As to be expected, club founder Dennis Crowley was extremely pleased to find out the news.
"When we started Stockade three years ago, we set a goal for ourselves to qualify for the U.S. Open Cup by 2020," said Crowley. "To have qualified after just two seasons is an incredible accomplishment, and a huge statement about the level of soccer talent in the Hudson Valley. We can't be any more proud of our players, coaches, fans, and volunteers for all helping to get us here."
Stockade coach David Lindholm shared Crowley's pride in the achievement, and is aiming to have his side ready for the task ahead.
"We're thrilled to have the opportunity to participate in the Open Cup, which is an honor shared by our players, staff, fans, and the community," said Lindholm. "We're excited to test ourselves against new competition, and I hope we can make a bit of a run, win some games and shock some teams."
Stockade's first U.S. Open Cup match will take place on Wednesday, May 9. It hasn't been determined who the opponent is yet, or whether the match will be at Dietz Stadium or on the road. Stockade finds out the opponent and the location of the opening match on April 4.
Officially titled the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (read more about the competition here), the U.S. Open Cup first took place in 1913, and is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the U.S. The knockout cup competition is an all-inclusive tournament that allows amateur clubs to earn the right to compete with professional teams, including all 20 MLS franchises based in the U.S.
Moreover, the winner of the U.S. Open Cup automatically receives a spot in the CONCACAF Champions League, which is a competition that features the top clubs from the U.S., Canada, Mexico and Central America. The winner of the CONCACAF Champions League then goes on to play in the FIFA Club World Cup, against the top sides from Europe, South America, Asia, Africa, and Oceania. Spanish giants Real Madrid are the current holders of the FIFA Club World Cup.
For this year's U.S. Open Cup, the NPSL had 19 teams qualify. Those teams are: AFC Ann Arbor, Brooklyn Italians, CD Aguiluchos USA, FC Motown, Dakota Fusion FC, Detroit City FC, Duluth FC, Elm City Express, Erie Commodores, FC Arizona, FC Wichita, Fort Worth Vaqueros, Inter Nashville FC, Kingston Stockade FC, Kitsap Soccer Club, Miami United FC, Midland-Odessa FC, New Orleans Jesters, Orange County FC.
By Randy Kim