US Soccer announced on Wednesday that the Michigan Bucks of the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League (PDL) have been chosen to host a Round Three match of the 2012 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Tuesday, May 29 at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac (7:30 kickoff) IF they can defeat the Pittsburgh Riverhounds (USL Pro- D3) on Tuesday, May 22 in Round Two.
The Bucks have hosted a record four MLS teams in the Open Cup since 1999 with the last being the Columbus Crew at Stoney Creek High School in Rochester in 2006. This would be the only appearance of a team from Major League Soccer in the Detroit area this year and the first ever MLS team to play inside Ultimate Soccer Arenas.
The US Open Cup is the nation’s oldest sporting tournament, celebrating its 99th year in 2012. The unique format of the Open Cup enables all men’s amateur and professional soccer teams in the United States to qualify to become one of this year’s 64 teams who began play at 32 venues around the country on May 15. The Bucks play at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in Pontiac, the largest indoor soccer facility in North America.
For those not familiar with the unique concept of the Open Cup tournament, the Bucks playing the Chicago Fire would be similar to the Michigan State Spartans football team taking on the Chicago Bears in a meaningful, single elimination knock out tournament with the eventual winner raising the Lamar Hunt Trophy and a $100,000 first prize check.
Statement from Bucks Chairman/ CEO Dan Duggan:
“We are once again proud to be selected by US Soccer to have the honor of hosting a game of this magnitude. We have proven over the years that our organization can put on a first class event, as well as to put a top quality competitive team on the field. While the team is only focused on the huge task at hand in trying to find a way to upset the Riverhounds on Tuesday, the front office is working diligently to make the necessary preparations to host this huge game.”
“The Bucks have been the catalyst for trying to bring a MLS team to Detroit for over a decade now and we know that this kind of exposure right here in our backyard will only help to refuel the campaign. We have always believed that Detroit is a MLS market and may have the chance to prove it on May 29.”
“The intimacy of Ultimate Soccer Arenas would make it a perfect venue for our fans to see one of the country’s top professional soccer teams up close and in person if the Fire come to town. The downside is that with less than 2,000 seats, we expect that tickets will go fast and that we will have a lot of disappointed fans who won’t be fortunate to attend in person.”
Ticket information about the potential match will be revealed to Bucks fans on Saturday night at the Bucks PDL season opener at Ultimate Soccer Arenas. All fans in attendance for Saturday’s game will be given access to presale tickets before the general public has an opportunity to purchase. The Bucks host the Chicago Inferno with a 7:30 PM kick off. Tickets for this match are $10 Adults and $7 Youth (16 and under). Children 5 and under are admitted free of charge. Discounted pre sale tickets for Saturday’s match are only $6 and can be purchased on line at www.buckssoccer.com and clicking on the TICKETS link.
BACKGROUND ON THE USL, THE BUCKS AND THE US OPEN CUP
The Michigan Bucks begin their 17th season in the United Soccer Leagues (USL) Premier Development League, the fourth tier of men’s soccer in North America (comparable to Single A, Double A, Triple A and MLB in baseball).
UNITED SOCCER LEAGUES
USL has become the largest organization of elite-level soccer leagues in North America by building on the vision, commitment, and passion of players, fans and investors. Now in its third decade of operation, USL continues to be a driving force in the growth of soccer in the United States, Canada and Caribbean. USL provides a clearly defined path for the progression of male and female soccer players beginning at the youth level (Super Y-League/Super-20 League), continuing through the amateur level (PDL/W-League) and up to the professional level, both outdoor and indoor (USL PRO/MISL). A platform for countless players to reach for their dreams each year, USL is devoted to developing the sport at the grassroots level in every community across the region.
PREMIER DEVELOPMENT LEAGUE
The top developmental men’s league in North America, the PDL features 73 teams within four conferences across the United States and Canada. The PDL season consists of 16 regular season matches for each team, eight home and eight away, and provides elite collegiate players the opportunity to play along side professional players and taste a higher level of competition while maintaining their eligibility. In addition to league play, PDL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various exhibitions. The PDL has proven to be an important stepping-stone for top professionals now playing throughout the world.
The Michigan Bucks are the most successful team in PDL history and hold over 15 PDL records, including most wins, most playoff appearances, most playoff wins and the most US Open Cup appearances. The Bucks have won two PDL regular season championships and one PDL North American championship since 2000.
US OPEN CUP
The 99th edition of the U.S. Open Cup includes a 64-team field, which represents the largest in the modern era (1995 to present), eclipsing the previous record of 42 teams set in 2005 and 2006.
All Division I, II and III professional clubs are participating in the tournament proper for the first time ever. The Division I field includes all 16 U.S.-based Major League Soccer teams, which is double the representation from the past five years and the first time since 2006 that all Division I teams will take part. Meanwhile, all six U.S.-based North American Soccer League teams (Division II) and all 10 U.S.-based USL PRO teams (Division III) complete the balance of the 32 professional sides competing (also a modern record). This 2012 competition marks the first year that clubs representing the NASL will participate in America’s oldest national soccer tournament. The amateur entries feature 32 teams from various leagues with the U.S. Adult Soccer Association (including USASA regional qualifiers, the United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League and the National Premier Soccer League) and US Club Soccer. The PDL will have 16 of these 32 spots, taking two from each of the eight divisions.
CHICAGO FIRE OF MLS
The Fire entered MLS at the start of the league’s third year in 1998. In their expansion season, the Fire earned the nation’s double, winning both the MLS Cup and the US Open Cup titles in the very same year. Since that time the Fire has not won the MLS Cup, but has added three US Open Cup titles in 2000, 2002 and 2006. The Fire currently sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference of the MLS 2012 regular season. The Fire roster boasts three former Michigan Bucks standouts in Kheli Dube, Tony Walls and Lucky Mkosana, who could all be on the roster if the Fire comes to Pontiac on May 29th.
MICHIGAN BUCKS US OPEN CUP HISTORY
The Bucks first year of eligibility into the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup was 1997.
In 16 years of eligibility, the Bucks have qualified a PDL record nine times.
The Bucks overall record in US Open Cup is 10-7-1 (7-4-1 home, 3-3 road)
The Bucks record against professional teams in the US Open Cup is 7-7-1
The Bucks record against MLS clubs in US Open Cup is 1-4-1
The Bucks hosted the first ever US Open Cup match held indoors at Ultimate Soccer Arenas in 2008 against the Cleveland City Stars.
Bucks record attendance 5,023 set against Miami Fusion (MLS) at White Pine Stadium in Saginaw, MI in July 2000.
The Bucks have scored goals in 16 of 17 US Open Cup matches, only shutout by Metrostars (MLS) in 2003.
ABOUT ULTIMATE SOCCER ARENAS
Ultimate Soccer Arenas is the largest indoor soccer facility in North America and one of the largest in the world. With over 270,000 square foot and $18M investment, the facility houses three indoor fields (including the Bucks 1,650 seat stadium), European style coffee shop, full restaurant and bar. Ultimate Soccer Arenas also houses one of DMC’s Sports Medicine facilities, complete with rehab and speed, strength and agility trainers and personnel. Ultimate Soccer Arenas is located at 867 South Blvd. Pontiac, MI 48341 248-648-7000