U.S. Soccer
US Soccer

U-20 WNT Gathers in Portland for Final pre-World Cup Training Camp

CHICAGO (June 20, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Women’s National Team will gather in Portland, Oregon, from June 25-July 12 for the final training camp before U.S. head coach Jitka Klimkova chooses a 21-player roster for the 2018 FIFA U-20 Women’s World Cup.

Klimkova has called up 24 players for this event which will include two matches against the Brazil U-20 WNT and a game against Portland Thorns FC. Brazil handed the USA one of just four losses during this cycle during a 2-0 result at the Women’s Nike Friendlies in December of 2017.

Nineteen of the 24 players on this roster are in college with five still playing youth club (all for U.S. Soccer Development Academy teams). Defender Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC), midfielders Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat) and forwards Sophia Smith (Real Colorado) and Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues) are the players on the roster who have not yet enrolled in college. All five will be head to college next fall, at Stanford, Florida State, UNC, Stanford and USC, respectively.

The roster features four players from UCLA (D Karina Rodriguez, F Ashley Sanchez, M Delanie Sheehan and M Viviana Villacorta), four from Virginia (G Laurel Ivory, D Zoe Morse, F Alexa Spaanstra and F Taryn Torres) and two from Stanford (D Samantha Hiatt and D Kiara Pickett) and USC (D Tara McKeown and M Savannah DeMelo).

The USA is coming off a tournament title at the Sud Ladies Cup in France in early June at which they beat Germany (3-0), Haiti (7-0) and the hosts (3-1). Hocking scored her first two international goals during the tournament, as did forward Erin Gilroy, who plays at Tennessee.

The U.S. U-20 WNT has gone 10-0-3 this year in international matches with 12 different players having scored, led by Smith, the 2017 U.S. Soccer Young Female Player of the Year, who has 11 goals in 2018 and 19 in her U-20 career. Smith is now tied with current WNT forward with Mallory Pugh for fourth all-time in U-20 international goals for the USA behind Sydney Leroux (29), Kelley O’Hara (24) and Lindsey Horan (24). Smith has scored in seven consecutive international matches.

The USA was drawn into Group C at the upcoming World Cup in France and opens the tournament on Monday, Aug. 6 against Japan (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local), faces Paraguay on Thursday, Aug. 9 (1:30 p.m. ET / 7:30 p.m. local) and finishes the group against Spain on Monday, Aug. 13 (7:30 a.m. ET / 1:30 p.m. local). The USA will play its first two group games at Stade Guy-Piriou in Concarneau and its third group game at Stade du Clos Gastel in Dinan/Léhon.

The 16-team field for the tournament is a strong one, featuring Mexico, the USA, Haiti, host France, England, Netherlands, Germany, Spain, Ghana, Nigeria, Brazil, Paraguay, China PR, Japan, Korea PRK and New Zealand. The USA has won the tournament three times (2002, 2008, 2012), as has Germany (2004, 2010, 2014), while Korea DPR has won it twice, in 2006 and most recently in 2016.

U.S. U-20 WNT Roster by Position:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Hillary Beall (Michigan; Laguna Beach, Calif.), Laurel Ivory (Virginia; Surfside, Fla.), Amanda McGlynn (Virginia Tech; Jacksonville, Fla.)  

DEFENDERS (9): Emily Fox (North Carolina; Chapel Hill, N.C.), Naomi Girma (California Thorns FC; San Jose, Calif.), Samantha Hiatt (Stanford; Newcastle, Wash.), Tara McKeown (USC; Newbury Park, Calif.), Taylor Mitchell (Duke; Tarzana, Calif.), Zoe Morse (Virginia; East Lansing, Mich.), Kiara Pickett (Stanford; Santa Barbara, Calif.), Isabel Rodriguez (Ohio State; Canton, Mich.), Karina Rodriguez (UCLA; Torrance, Calif.)                                                         

MIDFIELDERS (5): Savannah DeMelo (USC; Bellflower, Calif.), Jaelin Howell (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Brianna Pinto (NTH Tophat; Durham, NC), Delanie Sheehan (UCLA; Brentwood, Calif.), Viviana Villacorta (UCLA; Lawndale, Calif.)                                                  

FORWARDS (7): Erin Gilroy (Tennessee; Bellmore, N.Y.), Penelope Hocking (So Cal Blues; Anaheim, Calif.), Abigail Kim (California; Vashon, Wash.), Ashley Sanchez (UCLA; Monrovia, Calif.), Sophia Smith (Real Colorado; Windsor, Colo.), Alexa Spaanstra (Virginia; Brighton, Mich.), Taryn Torres (Virginia; Frisco, Texas)           

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U-20 WNT Jun 20, 2018

Bid on Autographed WNT & MNT Rainbow-Numbered Jerseys

CHICAGO (June 20, 2018) – The U.S. Women’s and Men’s National Team autographed, game-issued jerseys from their matches in June are now available via an online auction with all net proceeds going to benefit the You Can Play Project.

Both teams donned rainbow-numbered jerseys in recognition of LGBTQ Pride Month for their respective pairs of matches. In cooperation with the Women’s National Team Players Association and the U.S. National Soccer Team Players Association, U.S. Soccer is offering one jersey per player at auction to support The You Can Play Project, an organization dedicated to ensuring equality, respect and safety for all athletes, coaches, and fans without regard for sexual orientation and/or gender identity.

The online charity auction has begun and will conclude at 10 a.m. ET on Friday, June 29. The bidding will start at $300 for each jersey.

The U.S. WNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys against China PR on June 7 in Sandy, Utah, and on June 12 in Cleveland. The U.S. MNT players wore the pride-inspired jerseys on June 2 vs. Ireland in Dublin and on June 9 vs. France in Lyon. The jerseys from the first game of each U.S. team's two-match set are available through the auction.

Last year's jersey auction to benefit the You Can Play Project raised more than $65,000 combined between the WNT and MNT jerseys.

In addition this year, fans can purchase jerseys customized with their choice of rainbow numbers through store.ussoccer.com, as well as a scarf or hat featuring a rainbow “ONE NATION.” One-hundred percent of net proceeds on the sale of these limited-edition items will also be donated to The You Can Play Project.

The “ONE NATION.” design was inspired by U.S. Soccer’s commonly used “ONE NATION. ONE TEAM.” mantra and draws from U.S. Soccer’s belief in promoting a culture of diversity, inclusivity and global connectivity as a country and fanbase.

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MNT WNT Jun 20, 2018
US Soccer

U-17 WNT Rides Wild Roller Coaster to 2018 World Cup

Most teenagers love roller coasters. The thrill of barreling down into deep dips and racing up steep slopes, the sharp turns and sheer speeds, all combine to make the heart race and the stomach drop.

U.S. U-17 Women’s National Team head coach Mark Carr, age 39, might prefer a ride more akin to a steady trip down a calm river, where you can see where you’ve been and where you are going.

That said, he’s exceedingly aware that a soccer journey is rarely without obstacles, and to achieve big goals, there will always be big adversities to overcome. That’s part of the fun.

He just wasn’t expecting the combination of challenges that confronted his team on its way to earning a berth at the 2018 FIFA U-17 Women’s World Cup in Uruguay; among them, a qualifying tournament that kicked off, then stopped, and then started again, serious injuries to key players, falling behind in games, and a Concacaf championship match that almost wasn’t played.

Through it all, his young team persevered while showing tremendous maturity, character and camaraderie, to qualify for the World Cup and win the regional title.

ussoccer.com sat down with Carr to talk about the wild ride so far and what’s ahead.

ussoccer.com: The Concacaf Women’s U-17 Championship got six games in last April – just one for the USA – before it was cancelled due to civil unrest in Nicaragua. At the time, you didn’t know when it would be completed. What was your mindset around that time and how did the team react to the highly unusual situation?

Mark Carr: “It was definitely an unusual circumstance, something you cannot plan for. Our players really were disappointed that they couldn’t play the second group game vs. Bermuda, but they were able to process that their safety and the safety of their families and our whole support team was the number one priority. It was a real-life moment.  When we realized that tournament was cancelled, our whole staff kicked into high gear and pulled together to get everyone back to the USA safe and sound. Although it was unplanned, I sensed that the experiences in Nicaragua brought our team closer together and added to the anticipation of when we would be back together again.”

ussoccer.com: You had to really adapt with 46 days between group games and zero time together as a team before you regrouped in Bradenton, Fla. How did your player management philosophy quickly evolve while collaborating with the players’ youth clubs?

MC: “It was definitely a long window for us, and it just became a waiting game. After we got back to the USA, we re-connected with each player, their parents and their club coaches. We took a holistic approach and looked at everything that the player may have to deal with. That meant taking into account their school commitments, their club soccer and other social commitments. The collaboration with the clubs, players and families was invaluable and the open communication was huge. We were able to learn exactly what each player had on their plate and what support they needed on our end, if any. Some had Showcases, some had games, some were on school trips, some were just training and some had end-of-the-year finals. It was very important for us to know exactly where each player was and how we could best support and re-prepare them for WCQ. Once we had that, we were able to develop customized individual plans according to their needs.”

U-17 WNT - Payton Linnehan
Payton Linnehan scores the USA's second goal vs. Costa Rica in its opening Concacaf Championship game.

ussoccer.com: You lost four key players, including 2016 U-17 Women’s World cup veterans Lia Godfrey and Jordan Canniff, as well as Ainsley Ahmadian and Isabella D’Aquila – all potential starters – due to injuries (three ACLs) prior to the qualifying tournament. You then lost forward Payton Linnehan to an injury between Nicaragua and Bradenton and lost midfielder Croix Bethune in the final match of group play. Both were also consistent starters. How did you handle those losses and what does that say about the depth and resilience of your squad?

MC: “We have been hit by a lot of injuries, but as a coach, you have to always plan for the worst-case scenario. It’s really tough to lose any player, whether before, during or after a tournament of this magnitude. All these players have unique talents and losing them hurt our team. It’s not only sad for them on a personal level, that they lose that connection with their teammates and the support staff, but more that they miss out on such an incredible development experience. Losing four forwards in the lead-up to WCQ and two more players during the tournament was tough, but it offered opportunities for other players to step up.

In hindsight, I think we have always focused on developing the whole U-17 WNT pool of players in the last three years. This coupled with our YNT integration model, the common philosophy and the work of our youngers’ coaches (April Kater and Tracey Kevins) just makes the transition a lot easier for any player moving up. The expectation at U.S. Soccer is to develop and compete to win at the same time. We all understand that expectation and embrace that philosophy together. It’s my job to develop everybody so that when situations like this arise, players are ready to step in, take their opportunities and help our team be successful. Ultimately, the team is always the superstar and nobody gets success on their own. To see players grab that opportunity, contribute to the team, win the Concacaf Championship and secure our qualification for the 2018 U-17 FIFA World Cup speaks volumes about the character of the players within our USWNT program.

ussoccer.com:  You rolled over Bermuda once the tournament resumed but then had three difficult games against Haiti, Canada and Mexico, all one-goal victories. You dominated Canada but only scored the one goal, which came off a set play, and had to come from behind against Haiti and Mexico. What were your impressions of your team over those three games, and how did they grow throughout the tournament?

MC: “It was always our goal from the outset to qualify for the U-17 World Cup and win the championship, all while playing in a real positive way in terms of our style. I think we showed that. All games challenged us in different ways.

“The game against Canada was always going to be a tight game. It’s just the nature of that rivalry. I thought we performed very well, creating 27 chances, being on the front foot, defending aggressively and taking the initiative from start to finish. Sometimes those performances don’t always warrant the results you deserve, but on a different day we score more goals. It was nice to see a corner kick come to fruition after a ton of work in training.”

U.S. U-17 WNT - Reilyn Turner
Reilyn Turner scores the winning goal vs. Canada.

“We had some familiarity with Haiti and knew that it would be a game where they would sit deep, play on the counter-attack and take the energy out of the game. I always felt if we stuck to what we had trained and what we knew, the chances and key moments would come and it would be a matter of putting our chances away. We pinpointed certain areas where we believed we could take advantage and to see us score three goals from there was a huge positive. Obviously, the players were excited and emotional at the same time as we’d secured our spot in the World Cup. Next, it was all about the Concacaf championship.”

“In the championship game, it was a little more back-and-forth. Losing Samantha Meza so early was tough, but once again, our team responded in the right way. We made a few adjustments at half and reset, reminding the players to stick to what they knew. Being down twice against Mexico and coming back, showing that resilience, togetherness and spirit, was an incredible experience for the team. That, coupled with our technical quality, got us over the line in the end. I think we all could see what it meant to the group after Maya Dom’s winning goal and at the final whistle. It was a pretty incredible moment for us all.”

ussoccer.com: You have greater goals, of course, but qualifying for the World Cup in Uruguay and winning a Concacaf Championship were major accomplishments. The game was delayed for a few hours due to weather and was almost cancelled, but you kicked off just in time to get it in before sunset. Can you talk about the satisfaction of winning the regional title with this group of players going through these adversities?

MC: “I felt like the adversities never stopped coming. Right from Nicaragua, the injuries, the weather delays and the moments where we were down a goal. Ultimately, it was in these moments we learned the most, and I think we can all see how the team responded. When the final whistle came in the final, everything was worth it.  It was a moment of total elation. What else can I say? I was so proud to see them standing there on the podium together, with the trophy, celebrating together with pure happiness. Our players certainly rose to the challenge and never gave up despite all the adversity. Lots of people deserve credit, from the players, to the support staff and technical team.”

U-17 WNT Concacaf champions

ussoccer.com: Now that your World Cup tickets are booked, can you share your immediate, short-term goals?

MC: “My immediate goals are to reflect on our Concacaf experience and highlight some areas where we can improve individually and as a team. Our staff too will reflect on what went well, what was hard and what we can improve moving forward. Secondly, on the playing side, we will open the player pool once again. Performance is always a defining factor for any player in our program, so myself, Talent ID and all our scouts will look to turn over every rock to evaluate potential targets at the upcoming DA Showcase. The World Cup is five months away, so there is time for development between now and then. I have started to see some late developers bubble up within the DA as well as some top performers with our U-15 and U-16 Girls’ National Team groups in their most recent international trips. Both Tracey and April have their hand on the pulse and can share valuable insight after their recent successes in Italy, Portugal and Holland.

In the short term, it will be about putting together the most competitive schedule possible to prepare us for our World Cup opponents. That will include collecting info on our opponents to get a sense of how they play but also to cross-reference areas where we must improve.  Ultimately, it will always be about us and how we can improve as individuals and as a team. We will relentlessly chase improvement in the months ahead. We know that the level we’re at today will not be enough to get us to what we want to accomplish at the World Cup come November.”

ussoccer.com: Once the Concacaf qualifying tournament was complete, you finally found out your World Cup group, and you’ll be facing Cameroon, North Korea and Germany. How do you view Group C and those opponents?

MC: “Well, it’s a very tough group, but that’s what you would expect at World Cup. If you want to be the best, you have to beat the best, and that’s going to be our approach. I am sure our opponents feel very similar.  We know that we will be battle-tested right out of the gate, and we embrace that challenge head-on. It just gives us a more of an intensive sense of urgency in our work. From now to November, we will make sure we work to improve and prepare our team to arrive in Uruguay full of excitement, humility and laser focus. Our first goal will be to take one game at a time, and we will do whatever it takes to be ready for our opening game vs. Cameroon.”

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U-17 WNT Jun 20, 2018
US Soccer

SacRep’s Simon Elliott: A Time to Shine

Sacramento Republic FC are no strangers to the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, nor do they they fear any particular team. The Republic make the six-hour trip south to Los Angeles to face MLS and Open Cup newcomers LAFC in the Round of 16. But playing a team from the upper reaches of American professional soccer (MLS) is nothing new for Coach Simon Elliott and his side. Last season, in their deepest ever Cup run, they lost to LA Galaxy at the same stage of the competition.

Elliott only took over the reigns of Republic FC from last year’s coach Paul Buckle this February, but his understanding of the U.S. Open Cup system and what the tournament offers has been an aid in preparing his players for each match so far. “Pretty much every country has a knockout tournament and it’s great,” said Elliott, a native of New Zealand who played seven years in MLS and two years in England with Fulham. It’s a chance to compete against teams that you’re supposedly better than. It’s a chance to compete against teams who are supposedly better than you. It’s a fantastic tournament to be a part of.”

(Elliott - on the right - in action for New Zealand in international competition)

Changing Face of Open Cup
“Our outlook changes throughout the tournament,” added Elliott matter-of-factly. “The first round is tricky. You’ve got to keep yourself motivated. Most of the time, we’ll be playing against a team from a lower league or even an amateur team. And if you don’t take that seriously, or if you don’t approach it the right way, teams can upset you. We had a little trouble in our first game [against Premier Development League amateurs San Francisco City FC, after conceding a soft goal. We won 3-1, but we put ourselves under unnecessary pressure.”

The former Republic FC Academy coach, who was a rangy holding midfielder during his years in Major League Soccer, has seen his side pull off some impressive performances in this year’s Cup run, most recently knocking off MLS side and four-time Open Cup champions Seattle Sounders 2-1. “As you move on, you start to play against some really good teams. Teams like the Sounders, who we had in the last round, know what they’re doing, they’ve been there before and it’s a challenge,” said Elliott, who won the Open Cup in 2001 with LA Galaxy. “But if you prepare properly, and if you understand what you’re facing, it can give you the confidence that you can compete.”

(Jeremy Hall of SacRep is a solid veteran at the heart of defense)

For Elliott the Cup has a special allure. “I think we’re all taken by the romance of the Cup competition. Teams rise, players rise to that [occasion]. In that sense, it’s absolutely an opportunity. It’s a chance for us to shine, just as it is for LAFC,” he said. “It’s their first year and I’m sure they want to win silverware just as badly as we do. Any professional player or team would want to show what they’ve got and the Open Cup gives us a great chance to do that.”

His players will have every opportunity to show their stuff when play kicks off at Banc of California Stadium Wednesday night, in the last of the 2018 tournament’s eight Round of 16 games. Will he have to make some changes, perhaps rotate players? Of course. But that’s something Elliott apparently relishes. “Because of the USL [United Soccer League] schedule and the way the Open Cup is scheduled, you have to be prepared to rotate. You have to be ready to have everybody play, and that’s a good thing. These guys want to play and I feel that’s a real positive. They’ve all gotten a chance to play a lot in the past few weeks and they’ve stepped up.”

There’s a quiet confidence about the Republic FC manager, and his realistic approach seems reassuring, as if his wealth of experience helps translate to this team’s measured performances. “LAFC play a bit differently than Seattle and we’re going on the road. We have to really bed down what we’re about and make sure everyone knows their roles and then away we go. Everybody is aware of what they need to do. We have some players who have Cup experience, but we’re not relying on any one person.”

Old Campaigners Lead the Way
Chief among those Cup experienced players are Major League Soccer veterans Jeremy Hall and Adam Moffat, 29 and 32 respectively. “I love those dirty, messy Cup games,” said Hall, a former Puerto Rico international, in his 10th year as a professional player. A rugged defender, he loves the grit and thunder of Cup play. “You can just see the rough fight of those Open Cup games – you know it’s coming. No one gives you an inch. It’s never pretty. Guys try to prove themselves all over the place. Those are the games that are fun. You have to be into it for 90 minutes.”

(Sacramento in Round-of-16 action against LA Galaxy in 2017 - it's where their Cup run ended)

When asked about the nature of being an underdog in this competition, Elliott – a man who knows those rough-and-tumble Cup days as well as anyone –refuses to be painted with that brush. “How do we approach it? We’re a USL team playing against an MLS team. Do we consider ourselves underdogs? Well, we are playing away from home, against a team in a higher league. I think it will be a tough test.”
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U.S. Open Cup Jun 20, 2018
US Soccer

A New Harkes for America’s Oldest Cup

Ian Harkes, in one way or another, has lived through more Open Cup moments than most. That’s what happens when you’re the son of one of the country’s most accomplished players – his dad, John Harkes won the 1996 title with D.C. United and the 2002 championship with the Columbus Crew.

“I was pretty young but I remember seeing pictures of when he won it and videos of the games and it looks like it was great,” Ian said while preparing for D.C. United’s Round of 16 match in the 2018 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup against Orlando City SC at the Maryland SoccerPlex on Wednesday, June 20.

((A former star with Wake Forest, Ian Harkes has big shoes to fill)

When Ian Harkes was just a bouncing 1 ½ year-old, his father was off captaining an all-conquering United team that captured an MLS Cup/U.S. Open Cup double within a 10-day period (Oct. 20-30) in 1996 – Major League Soccer’s inaugural year. Before Ian’s time, his father had plenty of Cup success in England too, having won the 1991 League Cup with Sheffield Wednesday and finished runner-up in both the 1993 FA Cup and League Cup with Derby County.

Open Cup Appreciation Early
“Ian has full appreciation for the Open Cup, without a doubt, the way it was discussed in our house,” John Harkes told ussoccer.com. “Cindi and I raised Ian and our two daughters to appreciate every moment in soccer. Special moments don’t come often.”

Of late, Ian Harkes has been making his own Cup history for the family scrapbook. Last year he scored his first goal as a professional when D.C. United beat lively amateurs Christos FC 4-1 in the Fourth Round. This year, he opened the scoring in the 25th minute as D.C. United eliminated North Carolina FC (of the second-division United Soccer League - USL) in a penalty shootout after playing to a 1-1 draw in another Fourth-Round match at the SoccerPlex.

“I always knew the Open Cup was modeled after the FA Cup,” added Ian, still just 23 and a former standout at collegiate soccer power Wake Forest. With his United team on the bottom of the MLS Eastern Conference standings, the 2018 Cup’s a chance for some positive vibes in a team suffering through rough league form. “It’s always exciting; it gives teams a chance to shine. It’s cool because it gives underdogs in the U.S. a chance too. I knew D.C. had success with the Open Cup in the past. Definitely, 2013, I was proud when D.C. United won it. I’ve been a fan my whole life.”

D.C. United defeated Real Salt Lake at Rio Tinto Stadium to capture that 2013 title and also won the 2008 Final against the Charleston Battery (USL) at RFK Stadium in a year that was the last time a team from below the top-flight of MLS reached the championship match. “I always had this interest in the Open Cup,” John Harkes said. “The history of it. I loved the structure of it, and how it’s open to any team. In ’96, for me it was more about the education I received playing in FA Cups in England and correlating that to the U.S. Open Cup. I always valued it, just like any domestic league tournament.

(John Harkes - Ian's dad - in his heyday for D.C. United)

“Winning the Open Cup when I was in Columbus, with the Hunts – Lamar and Dan and Clark – Columbus’ first trophy, that was pretty special and it really resonates now that it’s named after Lamar Hunt (the tournament was re-named to honor the America soccer pioneer in 1999),” John added.

John Harkes also experienced the disappointment of Cup knockout competition. He played for the New England Revolution in a 1-0 loss to the all-amateur Mid-Michigan Bucks (now just the Michigan Bucks) in 2000, among the biggest upsets in the tournament’s long 105-year history. While coaching FC Cincinnati in their first year as a club, Harkes guided the team to a Second Round win before being eliminated in the Third Round by the Tampa Bay Rowdies in 2016.

“I tell the kids, ‘You can’t remember all the downs and mistakes; you’ve got to play through them’,” note the elder Harkes, who went on to earn 90 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and play in two World Cups. “The best players have amnesia, they learn from their mistakes and move on. There are a lot of giant-killers out there and I think it’s special for those clubs.

“Whenever I was a player, I wanted to play the strongest team we could [in the Open Cup] because we want to win this thing,” Harkes went on. “At Cincinnati, I said let’s go for it, we want to win every game. It’s a special tournament, steeped in history and tradition, and you want to say you competed for it. It’s a prestigious tournament and I really hope it gets to the point U.S. Soccer and mainstream media give it special honor.”

Deep Open Cup Roots
The Harkes family goes back even farther than the two most recent generations in Cup competitions. Ian’s grandfather and an uncle – both named Jimmie – played for the Kearny (N.J.) Scots American AC teams in the U.S. Amateur Cup. The Scots Americans won five consecutive American Soccer League titles (1937-41), advancing as far as the Semifinals of the 1935 U.S. Open Cup. “They always said to us, no matter what we did, ‘You’ll never beat that record’ – five straight championships,” Jimmie Harkes Jr. recalled.

(Ian Harkes in action for DC United against Columbus Crew)

But there’s time for young Ian. “There’s a lot riding on it,” the youngest of the Harkes boys said of the Open Cup. “It’s different, because you’re not sure what lineup the other team is going to put out. But you treat every opportunity like it’s your last, advance any way possible. The fans want us to get back there again, and keep progressing. We haven’t won a trophy for four or five years, and this is definitely a trophy we can win, and focus our season on.”

With a proud – and demanding – family tradition to carry on, the most recent in a line of Harkes boys is set to make his own mark on the historic U.S. Open Cup. He’s four wins away from putting his first piece of hardware in that family cabinet.

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U.S. Open Cup Jun 20, 2018