Perhaps the most exciting aspect awaiting Duluth FC for the 2018 season is our chance to be involved in the U.S. Open Cup for the first time as one of the two Minnesotan clubs to be involved this year. We will also be one of the two NPSL North clubs in the competition this year, along with Dakota Fusion who we’ll face in the first round. The game will be historic for both teams as it has been for the countless amateur and semi-pro clubs who have gone up against anyone from local rivals to professional powerhouses in the course of competing for the Open Cup.
Kyle Bakas, Duluth FC’s previous coach who lead us to our division title win last year, feels the tournament can prove to be a major boost for Duluth’s interests and image as it has been for others. “Events like this are vital to the growth and success of the game in our country. It provides a small glimpse of what an Open system would look like. Imagine if by winning last year Duluth had been promoted… it would have helped the club attract sponsors, players, coaches and most importantly fans… the opportunity to compete at the highest of levels is critical to growing that fanbase, and creating a better soccer experience for all.”
Current Head Coach Joel Person also gave his two cents about the situation, pointing out that taking part in such a historic tournament is the stuff of dreams for just about anyone involved in the beautiful game “The US Open Cup is one of the oldest and most prestigious soccer competitions in America. It is the United States’ version of the FA Cup in England or the Copa del Rey in Spain, etc… In my opinion, this is “bucket list” type of stuff that people dream about. Who doesn’t like the underdog story about a local minor league team taking on the big major league club?”
From the beginning this club has been about more than the potential to win honors. Father Tim Sas, owner and founder of Duluth FC, has always wanted the club, staff, and players to find ways to be happy with their work but humble. Playing in the USOC this year isn’t just about bragging or accolades. It’s about bringing a new level of the game to Duluth. It’s about bringing the name “Duluth” to new eyes and ears as a place that can create strong communities. We hope the USOC provides us the chance to do that this summer and we hope in the course of it all we give you something to cheer for and celebrate.
Duluth FC will play Dakota Fusion in the first round of the U.S. Open Cup on May 9th at James S. Malosky Stadium, as both compete to reach the second round for the first time in their respective histories. We hope to see you there, thank you for your continued support for local football and Duluth.