US SoccerUS Soccer

Swim on Through to the Other Side

“You want to hear a story about Kelley O’Hara? Here’s one that tells you everything you need to know,” says Paul Ratcliffe, coach of Stanford University’s women’s soccer team.

Before O’Hara’s senior year at Stanford, the women’s soccer team traveled to the University of Hawaii for preseason matches. On their off morning, they went sightseeing at Kailua Beach Park. Ratcliffe left the team on one side of the beach and took a walk with his family to the other.

“When I get back, all the girls are sitting down, kind of laughing and looking uneasy. I was like, ‘Uh, what’s up?’ That’s when they pointed out two tiny flecks swimming out in the water, en route to an island that is far away –I’m talking like far, far out,” says Ratcliffe. “And I’m responsible for these girls, and I’m panicked. When I told the Hawaii coach about it, he says, ‘Yeah, people die doing that.’”

O’Hara and teammate Ali Riley (who plays for the New Zealand national team) had been sitting in the sand, idly wondering whether it was possible to swim out to that island in the distance. The daydreaming prompted reactions from their teammates: “Not possible,” “No way,” “You guys are out of you mind if you think you could swim all the way there!”

COPA
She Believes Rampone

U.S. Soccer to Host Four-Team U-20 Women’s Tournament at the NTC in Carson

CHICAGO (May 25, 2015) – U.S. Soccer will stage a four-team Under-20 women’s international tournament from June 2-6 as the USA will host Brazil, Japan and Mexico in the 2015 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational. All the matches will be played on the Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field at the U.S. Soccer National Training Center in Carson, California.

Each of the match days – June 2, 4 and 6 – will feature a doubleheader with the USA playing the second game of the day. The winner of the competition will be based on total points with the first tiebreakers being overall goal difference and then total goals scored. Admission to the matches is free to the public. Parking is free on June 2 and 4, but not on June 6 as there is a Los Angeles Galaxy game that evening at the StubHub Center. All tournament matches will be streamed live on ussoccer.com.

Date

Teams

Kickoff (PT)

Location (U.S. Soccer NTC at StubHub Center)

Tues., June 2

Mexico vs. Brazil

3 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

Tues., June 2

USA vs. Japan

6 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

Thurs., June 4

Brazil vs. Japan

3 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

Thurs., June 4

USA vs. Mexico

6 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

Sat., June 6

Japan vs. Mexico

12 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

Sat., June 6

USA vs. Brazil

3 p.m.

Glenn “Mooch” Myernick Field – Field #1

All of the teams are currently preparing for qualifying for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup which will be held in Papau New Guinea. Like the USA, Brazil has participated in all seven of the FIFA U-19/U-20 Women’s World Cups that have been contested thus far. Japan has participated in four tournaments and Mexico has played in all but the 2004 tournament in Thailand that was a U-19 event.

U-20 Women’s National Team head coach Michelle French has called in 20 players for the tournament, seven of whom are already in college (two players enrolled early and have yet to play a college season in forward Kelcie Hedge (University of Washington and defender Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State) with seven more graduating this summer and heading off for their freshman seasons this fall.

Seven players on the roster were born in 1996, which is the age cut-off for next U-20 Women’s World Cup. Nine were born in 1997 with midfielder Jordan Harr, midfielder Savannah DeMelo and forward Mallory Pugh (all 1998s) and forward Ashley Sanchez (1999), the youngest players on the roster. Pugh was a starter for the U.S. team at the 2014 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup, while Sanchez was recently called up from the U-17 WNT and is age-eligible for the 2016 U-17 Women’s World Cup to be held in Jordan.

U.S. U-20 Women’s National Team Roster by Position
2015 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Samantha Leshnak (Ohio Elite; Liberty Township, Ohio), Casey Murphy (Rutgers; Bridgewater, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (6): Alana Cook (Match Fit FC; Far Hills, N.J.), Maddie Elliston (Penn State; Omaha, Neb.), Sabrina Flores (Notre Dame; Livingston, N.J.), Natalie Jacobs (Slammers FC; Coto de Caza, Calif.), Courtney Petersen (Michigan Hawks; Canton, Mich.), Kaleigh Riehl (Penn State; Fairfax Station, Va.)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Megan Buckingham (UNC; Novi, Mich.), Marley Canales (San Diego Surf; San Diego, Calif.), Savannah DeMelo (Beach FC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jordan Harr (Dallas Sting; Sachse, Texas), Mikaela Harvey (Texas A&M; Liberty Hill, Texas), Kelcie Hedge (Washington; Post Falls, Idaho), Emily Ogle (Penn State; Strongsville, Ohio), Parker Roberts (KC Metro Dynamos; Leawood, Ks.)
FORWARDS (4): Hana Kerner (Match Fit FC; Upper Saddle River, N.J.), Mallory Pugh (Real Colorado; Highlands Ranch, Colo.), Taylor Racioppi (PDA; Ocean Township, N.J.), Ashley Sanchez (SoCal Blues; Monrovia, Calif.)

Additional Notes:

  • The CONCACAF qualifying tournament 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup will be held in December in Honduras.
  • Each team is allowed to name 20 players on its tournament roster.
  • Teams will be allowed six total substitutions per game with no re-entry. In the second half of the matches, a team may stop the game a maximum of three times to make substitutions. During each of these stoppages, a team may make more than one substitution, up to the limit of the six total per match.
  • After goal difference and goals scored, the next tie-breakers will be the head-to-head result.
  • Players eligible for the 2015 U-20 Women’s NTC Invitational must have been born on or after Jan. 1, 1996, which is the age cut-off for the 2016 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.
  • There will be no suspensions for accumulation of yellow cards during the tournament, but a player receiving a red card will have to sit out a minimum of one match.

U.S. Set for Run in Historic Toulon Tournament

In France it has been called le lieu où naissent les étoiles, the place where stars are born. Always a gathering of the world’s top soccer powers, this year’s 43rd edition of the Toulon Tournament features regular competitors Netherlands, England and host France, as well as Costa Rica, China, Ivory Coast, Morocco, Mexico, Qatar and the USA.

“It’s a huge tournament,” U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog said. “I think at this age group, there’s the World Cup and for sure there’s the Olympic Tournament, but apart from those competitions, this is the biggest tournament in this age group. With all the teams like England, Netherlands, France, Mexico, and the USA competing against each other, at this age group that’s a really, really good competition and it’s a good challenge for us to show that we have a good team together.”

In 1975, Cesar Luis Menotti coached an Argentina youth squad featuring Daniel Passarella, Americo Gallego, Alberto Tarentini, and Jose Daniel Valencia to a championship in the third Toulon Tournament. Three years later, those four players were a part of the Argentina side that won the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Following the win, Menotti recalled Toulon as being a fundamental piece of the players’ development that led to their victory, and hence, le lieu où naissent les étoiles.

In the 40 years since, many of the biggest and most renowned footballers have made their mark in Toulon, and the tournament has proven to be a foreshadower of what’s to come in international play. In 2011, Colombian striker James Rodriguez earned honors as the Toulon Player of the Tournament. Three summers later, Rodriguez burst onto the scene and won the Golden Boot at the 2014 FIFA World cup after scoring six goals in five games.

Other international footballers who have also gained experience in the Toulon Tournament include: Zinedine Zidane, David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Cristiano Ronaldo, Alan Shearer, Javier Mascherano, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar, Nuno Gomes, Rui Costa and many more.

The U.S. was in Toulon for the tournament in 2013, competing with its U-20 MNT and taking seventh place. Their best finish in Toulon history dates back to 1989, when the team took third place behind Bulgaria and champion France.

This year the U-23’s will try to best that finish. To do that, they will have to navigate through group play matchups with France on May 27, Netherlands on May 29, Costa Rica on May 31 and Qatar on June 2. 

U-23 MNT head coach Andi Herzog Names 19 players to Roster for 2015 Toulon Tournament

CHICAGO (May 24, 2015) - U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team head coach Andi Herzog has named 19 players to the roster for the 2015 Toulon Tournament, which runs from May 27-June 7 in the south of France.

Herzog will make one addition to complete the 20-player roster, which will officially be submitted on Tuesday evening.

“Toulon is one of the most prestigious tournaments in the world at this age level, and we’re fortunate to have the opportunity to compete against some of the top teams in the world,” said Herzog. “Having seen matches here many times before, I know the type of talent we will face. This is huge for us as we get ready for qualification this October, and is another step in the development of our players in international competition.”

Roster By Position:

GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton; Maple Grove, Minn.), Charlie Horton (Unattached; Cleveland, Ohio), Tyler Miller (Zweibrücken; Woodbury, N.J.)
DEFENDERS (7): Juan Pablo Ocegueda (Alebrijes de Oaxaca; Riverside, Calif.), Boyd Okwuonu (Real Salt Lake; Edmund, Okla.), Shane O’Neill (Colorado Rapids; Boulder, Colo.), William Packwood (Unattached; Concord, Mass.), Jalen Robinson (D.C. United; Catonsville, Md.), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids; Brighton, Colo.), Sam Strong (Santa Barbara; Santa Barbara, Calif.)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Fatai Alashe (San Jose Earthquakes; Northville, Mich.), Benji Joya (Santos Laguna; San Jose, Calif.), Daniel Metzger (New York Red Bulls II; Holmdel, N.J.), Marc Pelosi (Liverpool; Sunnyvale, Calif.)
FORWARDS (5): Julian Green (Bayern Munich; Tampa, Fla.); Alonso Hernandez (C.F. Monterrey; El Paso, Tex.), Jerome Kiesewetter (Stuttgart; Berlin, Germany), Alfred Koroma Shams (Southlake Carol, Texas), Jordan Morris (Stanford; Mercer Island, Wash.).

The last time the U.S. competed in the Toulon Tournament was in 2013 when they sent the U-20 MNT. Seven players from that roster return for this edition of the tournament.

The tournament comprises two five-team groups. The United States is with Costa Rica, France, Netherlands and Qatar in Group A. Group B consists of China PR, England, Ivory Coast, Mexico and Morocco. The top teams from each group will meet in the final on June 7, and the second-place teams from each group will play for third place that day as well.

The U-23s have logged three matches in 2015 (2-1-0), opening with a 5-2 win over Bosnia and falling 0-1 to Denmark in March before bouncing back with a 3-0 win against Mexico on April 22 at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. The Toulon event will play a part in the team’s continued preparations for the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship, which will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.

Roster Notes:

  • Seven players from this roster were a part of the U-20 MNT that competed in the 2013 Toulon Tournament.
  • Eleven players from this roster were a part of the group that most recently defeated Mexico 3-0 in Carson. Cody Cropper made seven saves to earn the shutout in the game, while Jordan Morris scored a goal, and Dillon Serna and Shane O’Neill both recorded assists.
  • Five players were a part of the USA’s 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup team: Cropper, Alonso Hernandez, Benji Joya, Juan Pablo Ocegueda and O’Neill.
  • Morris made his first start and scored his first international goal with the senior MNT during the U.S. Men’s National Team’s 2-0 win against Mexico on April 15.
  • Morris is the leading goalscorer on this roster. In two matches in 2015 he has scored two goals, and overall in his four-game career with the U-23’s he has scored three times.
  • Ocegueda, Hernandez, and Joya are the most experienced players at the U-23 level, having each earned five caps.
  • Six players on this roster come from MLS, five from European clubs, three are from Mexico-based clubs, one plays in the USL, two are unattached and two compete at the collegiate level.
  • Cropper, Green, Morris, O’Neill and Serna have all been part of a U.S. MNT senior camp this year.
  • Green played in the U.S. MNT’s Round of 16 match against Belgium in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and scored a goal, becoming the youngest player to score in a World Cup game since 2006. 

U.S. Soccer Unveils 2015 U.S. Open Cup Fourth Round Pairings

CHICAGO (May 21, 2014) – U.S. Soccer unveiled the potential Fourth Round pairings and hosting scenarios for the 2015 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Fourth Round, scheduled for June 16-17, marks the opening stage of the tournament for the 17 domestic Major League Soccer (Division I) clubs, joining the 15 winners from the Third Round played May 27.

With an uneven amount of MLS clubs entering the competition in the Fourth Round, 15 of 17 MLS teams were paired geographically to a specific Third Round matchup, while two MLS teams, Seattle Sounders FC and Portland Timbers, were paired together to complete the bracket. Instances where a logical geographic fit didn’t exist were resolved by random selection. Teams with an ownership affiliation (Portland Timbers and Portland Timbers 2, Real Monarchs SLC and Real Salt Lake, Seattle Sounders and Seattle Sounders 2) are precluded from being paired until the Final.

Home teams are determined by a random selection process among those clubs that have applied to host and whose venues meet the minimum tournament requirements.

Thursday’s draw was conducted with two-time U.S. Open Cup champion and former Chicago Fire midfielder Logan Pause serving as the official witness as matchups for June 16-17 were determined.

Fourth Round Possibilities

Date

Game

Time

Venue

June 16

New York City FC (MLS) at New York Cosmos (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Shuart Stadium; Hempstead, N.Y.

or

June 16

Jersey Express (PDL) at New York City FC (MLS)

7 p.m. ET

Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Queens, N.Y.

June 16

Rochester Rhinos (USL)/Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) winner at Philadelphia Union (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

PPL Park; Chester, Pa.

June 16

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL)/Chattanooga FC (NPSL) winner at New York Red Bulls (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Red Bull Arena; Harrison, N.J.

June 16

Minnesota United FC (NASL)/Saint Louis FC (USL) winner at Sporting Kansas City (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Sporting Park; Kansas City, Kan.

June 16

Louisville FC (USL)/Indy Eleven (NASL) winner at Chicago Fire (MLS)

7:30 p.m. CT

Toyota Park; Bridgeview, Ill.

June 16

Oklahoma City Energy (USL)/Tulsa Roughnecks (USL) winner at FC Dallas (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

TCU Soccer Stadium; Ft. Worth, Texas

TBD

Austin Aztex (USL)/San Antonio Scorpions (NASL) winner at Houston Dynamo (MLS)

8 p.m. CT

BBVA Compass Stadium; Houston, Texas

June 16

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)/Real Monarchs SLC (USL) winner at Colorado Rapids (MLS)

7 p.m. MT

Dick’s Sporting Goods Park; Commerce City, Colo.

June 16

Chula Vista FC (USASA)/Sacramento Republic FC (USL) winner at San Jose Earthquakes (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Avaya Stadium; San Jose, Calif.

June 16

Portland Timbers (MLS) at Seattle Sounders (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

Starfire Sports Complex; Tukwila, Wash.

June 17

Orlando City (MLS) at Charleston Battery (USL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

or

June 17

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at Orlando City (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Orlando Citrus Bowl; Orlando, Fla.

June 17

Charlotte Independence (USL)/Carolina RailHawks (NASL) winner at New England Revolution (MLS)

7:30 p.m. ET

Soldiers Field (Harvard Univ.); Boston, Mass.

June 17

Columbus Crew SC (MLS) at Richmond Kickers (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

or

June 17

Columbus Crew SC (MLS) at Jacksonville Armada (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Hodges Stadium (Univ. of North Florida); Jacksonville, Fla.

June 17

D.C. United (MLS) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

or

June 17

D.C. United (MLS) at Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Al Lang Stadium; St. Petersburg, Fla.

June 17

Portland Timbers 2 (USL)/Seattle Sounders 2 (USL) winner at Real Salt Lake (MLS)

8 p.m. MT

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

June 17

PSA Elite (USASA)/Ventura County Fusion (PDL) winner at LA Galaxy (MLS)

7:30 p.m. PT

StubHub Center; Carson, Calif.

Third Round Schedule – Match Center

Date

Game

Time

Venue

May 27

Atlanta Silverbacks (NASL) at Chattanooga FC (NPSL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Finley Stadium; Chattanooga, Tenn.

May 27

Charlotte Independence (USL) at Carolina RailHawks (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.

May 27

Fort Lauderdale Strikers (NASL) at Charleston Battery (USL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

May 27

Louisville City FC (USL) at Indy Eleven (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Carroll Stadium; Indianapolis, Ind.

May 27

Jersey Express (PDL) at New York Cosmos (NASL)

7:30 p.m. ET

Belson Stadium (St. John’s Univ.); Queens, N.Y.

May 27

Rochester Rhinos (USL) at Harrisburg City Islanders (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Skyline Sports Complex; Harrisburg, Pa.

May 27

Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL) at Real Monarchs SLC (USL)

7 p.m. MT

Rio Tinto Stadium; Sandy, Utah

May 27^

Portland Timbers 2 (USL) at Seattle Sounders 2 (USL)

1 p.m. PT

Starfire Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.

May 27

Jacksonville Armada (NASL) at Richmond Kickers (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

May 27

Tampa Bay Rowdies (NASL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)

7 p.m. ET

Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

May 27

Minnesota United FC (NASL) at Saint Louis FC (USL)

7 p.m. CT

St. Louis Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.

May 27

Austin Aztex (USL) at San Antonio Scorpions (NASL)

7:30 p.m. CT

Toyota Field; San Antonio, Texas.

May 27

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)

7:05 p.m. CT

ONEOK Field; Tulsa, Okla.

May 27

Chula Vista FC (USASA) at Sacramento Republic FC (USL)

7:30 p.m. PT

Bonney Field; Sacramento, Calif.

May 27

PSA Elite (USASA) at Ventura County Fusion (PDL)

7 p.m. PT

Ventura College Sportsplex; Ventura, Calif.

^Time Change May 19    

Second Round Results - Match Center

Date

Game

Result

Venue

May 20

West Virginia Chaos (PDL) at Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL)

0-3

Highmark Stadium; Pittsburgh, Pa.

May 20

Chattanooga FC (NPSL) at Wilmington Hammerheads (USL)

1-1 (5-3 PK’s)

Legion Stadium; Wilmington, N.C.

May 20

Virginia Beach City FC (NPSL) at Richmond Kickers (USL)

0-2

Richmond City Stadium; Richmond, Va.

May 20

Greater Binghamton FC Thunder (NPSL) at Rochester Rhinos (USL)

0-1

Sahlen’s Stadium; Rochester, N.Y.

May 20

Louisville City FC (USL) at Lansing United (NPSL)

1-0

East Lansing Soccer Complex; East Lansing, Mich.

May 20

Harrisburg City Islanders (USL) at Reading United A.C. (PDL)

3-0

Don Thomas Stadium; Reading, Pa.

May 20

Miami United (NPSL) at Charleston Battery (USL)

0-1

Blackbaud Stadium; Charleston, S.C.

May 20^

Upward Star (NPSL) at Charlotte Independence (USL)

1-4

Eagle Field at Winthrop; Rock Hill, S.C.

May 19#

Portland Timbers 2 (USL) at Michigan Bucks (PDL)

2-0

Ultimate Soccer Arenas; Pontiac, Mich.

May 20

Real Monarchs SLC (USL) at Long Island Rough Riders (PDL)

1-0

St. Anthony’s High School; South Huntington, N.Y.

May 20

New York Red Bulls II (USL) at Jersey Express (PDL)

0-1

NJIT Soccer Stadium; Newark, N.J.

May 20

Seacoast United Phantoms (PDL) at Tulsa Roughnecks (USL)

0-1

Hurricane Soccer & Track Field; Tulsa, Okla.

May 20

Des Moines Menace (PDL) at Saint Louis FC (USL)

1-1, 1-2 AET

St. Louis Soccer Park; Fenton, Mo.

May 20

Oklahoma City Energy (USL) at Midland/Odessa Sockers (PDL)

3-1

Grande Communications Stadium; Midland, Texas

May 20

Laredo Heat (PDL) at Austin Aztex (USL)

0-2

House Park; Austin, Texas

May 20

Harpo’s FC (USSSA) at Colorado Springs Switchbacks (USL)

1-2

Sand Creek Stadium; Colorado Springs, Colo.

May 20*

Orange County Blues (USL) at PSA Elite (USASA)

1-2

University High School; Irvine, Calif.

May 20

Chula Vista FC (USASA) at Arizona United SC (USL)

3-0

Scottsdale Stadium; Scottsdale, Ariz.

May 20

Ventura County Fusion (PDL) at LA Galaxy II (USL)

2-1

StubHub Center Track & Field Stadium; Carson, Calif.

May 20

Sonoma County Sol (NPSL) at Sacramento Republic FC (USL)

2-4

Bonney Field; Sacramento, Calif.

May 20

Kitsap Pumas (PDL) at Seattle Sounders 2 (USL)

2-2, 2-4 AET

Starfire Stadium; Tukwila, Wash.

#Date Change April 17     ^Venue Change April 27     *Venue Change May 18

Fifth Round Draw             June 18
Fifth Round                       June 30-July 1
Quarterfinals                     July 21-22
Semifinals                         August 11-12
Final                                  Sept. 29 or 30 

Teammate Impressions with the U.S. WNT

The U.S. WNT players spend a ton of time together on and off the field, so they’ve become very familiar with each other’s on-field Idiosyncrasies, as Heather O’Reilly and Abby Wambach demonstrate.

Brothers Clash as Sonoma County Sol visits Sacramento Republic FC in Open Cup Second Round

Throughout its history, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup tournament has been a great opportunity for local rivals to go up against each other, but rarely has the competition between teams been as personal as Wednesday evening when Sonoma County Sol travel to Sacramento Republic FC for a key second round match (7:30 p.m. PT, LIVE on SacRepublicFC.com).

Not only are the two teams based in close proximity in Northern California, but they share a family connection as well: Chris Daly plays midfield for his hometown Sol, while younger brother Mickey is a standout defender for Republic FC.

“This game is going to be another chapter in the Daly family soccer story,” said Chris. “We are going to compete as hard as we can against each other on the field, and afterward off the field we will share that experience.”

Mickey concurred, and added that the experience will be somewhat surreal for him, given the Sol was the first club team he played for, side by side with his older brother Chris, before embarking on his professional career.

“I’m looking forward to it, especially because I’ve played with so many of the guys on the other team,” said Mickey. “There’s a lot of excitement going around with my family and friends.”


Mickey Daly celebrates scoring for Sacramento Republic against Portland Timbers 2 in USL league play this season.

Both teams enter the game having started their seasons well. Sonoma County returns to the Bay Area following two wins on the road and sits in first place in the NPSL West region. Sacramento is riding its own two-game win streak and owns top spot in the USL Western Conference. The tournament provides the perfect opportunity for each to parlay its league success into a run at the Dewar Cup (the official name of the U.S. Open Cup trophy).

 “The Open Cup, for us amateur teams, really puts us on more of a national stage,” said Chris. “To be able to go two hours away to Sacramento and show them we are a great team is going to be awesome.”

As is often the case, lower league teams look at matchups against bigger clubs as a measuring stick, while the favored big sides do what they can to avoid upsets so they can advance in the competition. 

“We want to go far,” said Mickey. “Not only do we want to win in our league, but also be the last USL team in the tournament. We want to compete against some MLS teams, maybe even upset a couple, and see where we stand against them.” 

Republic FC is no stranger to success. In 2014, the club’s first year of existence, the team captured the USL PRO championship. In last year's U.S. Open Cup, they narrowly lost to the San Jose Earthquakes 2-1 in the Fourth Round. The Sacramento squad gets its bite from its head coach and philosophical leader, Preki, who, as a former profession player himself, won the tournament as a member of the 2004 Kansas City Wizards. 


Former U.S. MNT and MLS star Preki, now at the helm of USL side Sacramento Republic FC, hopes to recreate the success he found as a player with his current squad.

“He doesn’t have to tell us about his accomplishments and his stats,” said Mickey. “Everyone respects him, and when he says something to us, we take it fully and learn from it and get better.” 

Preki boasts a resume that also includes the 2000 MLS Cup with the Wizards, as well as two MLS MVP and two Golden Boot awards, and he is still the league's all-time leader in points with 270 (79 goals, 112 assists). Prior to leading Republic FC, he had head coaching stints with Toronto FC and Chivas USA. Known to demand a lot of his charges, Preki brought his touted strong mentality and professionalism to this brand-new USL club. 

“We have established certain standards here from the first day,” said Preki. “Our players understand that every day in training is important, never mind every game. They understand the task we have, they understand the preparation, and the group knows what’s at stake.” 

It may only be an early round game in the tournament, but Preki expects that no matter who he calls on to take the field, they will treat the match against Sonoma County as if it was a cup final. 

“We want to have the habit of winning,” said Preki. “Every trophy is important, every game is important, and this one is no different. We will go into that game with that mentality.”

And that importance will stretch down to the Daly brothers as well, who within minutes of the Sol’s advancement in round one, were on their phones calling and texting competitive messages. In all their years playing soccer, Chris and Mickey have never faced each other on the field, something Chris described as “crazy”, but neither player expects to go easy on the other. 

“I’ve watched him come so far,” said Chris, five years older than Mickey. “Now when I see him play, I’m in awe. He’s such a complete player; I don’t see a weakness I can go after. I am so proud of him.”

“We both work so hard,” said Mickey, eager to see his brother step into the spotlight at Bonney Field, “So for him to get the experience to play in front of a big crowd, with me on the other side of the field, is going to be very special.”

And no matter the result Wednesday night, the Daly family will celebrate a winner.

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