Last year, I managed to dig up some info on the U.S. Women’s Open Cup, which has existed in obscurity for a couple of decades at least. The results affected my final power rankings, pushing WPSL Elite finalist Chicago over WPSL Elite champion Western New York.
This year, things have changed a bit. The tournament are alternately called “USASA National Championships” or the “National Women’s Open Cup” and “National Women’s Amateur Cup.” One improvement: All of the details are in one place — even rosters!
But it’s hard to tell whether we can truly call this “national.” According to a Kansas City Shock press release that cites a Wikipedia page that originally drew its info from a USASA page that has since changed:
The 2013 USASA National Women’s Open will be the 18th staging of the tournament, and the first under a new format that eliminates regional qualification. The finals will include four Midwest teams and take place from June 25th to 27th, with the Amateur and U-23 competitions taking place the next three days.
Not great sourcing, of course, but the teams are indeed all Midwestern. In fact, two of those teams are from Kansas City — the Shock and the Dynamos. Three are from the WPSL — the Shock and the Des Moines Menace are in the Midwest Division, while the Houston Aces play in the Big Sky – South. The Dynamos are hard to find, though they’ve entered a lot of cup competitions in the past.
The Amateur Cup includes three more WPSL teams: ASA Chesapeake Charge, New York Athletic Club and Real Salt Lake Women (formerly Salt Lake United). Then three more teams: Olympic Club (Golden Gate Women’s Soccer League), Lady Saints (WLS), Turbo D’feeters (North Texas Women’s Soccer Association).
So that’s no W-League teams, no NWSL teams. No Open Cup teams outside the Midwest. The Amateur Cup actually has a bit more geographic diversity, at least.
That’s frustrating, sure. But that’s nothing that can be held against the teams participating in these tournaments. Ten ambitious adult teams are converging in search of trophies and elite competition. Nothing wrong with that.
One thought on “Up for the Cups, WoSo edition”
My women’s amateur soccer team has participated in the USASA Women’s National Cup for at least the past 15 years. Our team, along with our men’s team, feverishly trained and fundraised to reach each new round. State, regional, national… each round’s victory would be used as a launching pad for new fundraisers, and we would proudly show our trophies off at our clubhouse and post our national cup record on our website. But now, after years of participation, we are forced to sit out this year because USASA decided that the women don’t deserve a tournament anymore.
The new format has changed it from a national tournament to a dinky local affair in a town too far away for us to travel to. Amateur women’s teams are notoriously cash strapped, as we don’t receive nearly the funding that the men do from our clubs. There is no way we could fundraise a trip to KC–especially now that there are no state or regional round victories to build from, nor a sense of prestige in this separate and unequal tournament.
The reasoning they gave us for the change of format was a lack of interest from the women’s teams, even though there were over 21 teams who participated last year despite the fact that USASA openly shuns the idea of promoting the tournament (my coach has tried for years to help them recruit competitive teams–they refuse to even send emails). They could have easily doubled participation if they had simply tried. We were also told that they wanted to save money to put into the national tournament, though judging by the setup it doesn’t sound like they put too much extra effort into it. Meanwhile, after years of declining prize money to teams that made it to the national level, USASA has found it in their pockets to greatly increase prize money to the men’s teams this year who qualified for nationals. Coincidence?
I wish the soccer community cared enough about this tournament to know about this injustice. Thank you for the coverage you have given the tournament–we got a kick out of seeing our team’s name on your website last year.