A Kansas City soccer team earned a spot, but will not compete in one of the sport's largest competitions, one that gives the average guy a chance to face off against professional soccer players.
The KC Athletics said a protest forced them out of the running for the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The team beat the Dearborn Stars during a qualifying match on April 21 on an Olathe, KS, field, but the Stars, a team from Michigan, filed a petition to have the win tossed out because they said the field was too small.
Excitement, screaming and lots of emotion fill the atmosphere when a team wins the Lama Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Sporting Kansas City took the honor last year and amateur soccer players for the KC Athletics team wanted a chance to play in the same competition.
"I guess the easiest way to explain it is it is like the U.S. Open in golf. It gives amateur participants a chance to play against professionals," said KC Athletics player and coach Kyle Perkins.
The quest for the cup looked promising for the KC Athletics, who won two qualifying matches.
"We were excited," said KC Athletics Captain Matt Kuhn.
The excitement turned to anger when the Dearborn Stars filed the petition before the game started, stating that the field was too small.
"We went into it thinking it was regulation size. We had used the Olathe School District [field] before. The field measured correctly. We were under the impression it was measured the right size," Perkins said.
Perkins said the field was never officially measured, but was reportedly three to seven yards too narrow.
"They requested the game be moved to Sunday because they were unable to get people here Saturday. Originally the game wasn't going to be played at Olathe North [High School]. We did move the time and the field and, unfortunately, trying to do the right thing in the spirit of fairness and competition kind of came back to bite us," he said.
The KC Athletics normally play at a soccer complex in Overland Park, but they had to find a different field to play on due to their agreement to change the schedule to help out their competitors.
Perkins filed an appeal to the petition, but the commission sided with the Dearborn Stars.
The United States Adult Soccer Association, or USASA, Region II commissioner ordered a rematch in Chicago. Because of the cost to fly and the short notice to request time off of work, the team had to withdraw from the competition.
"We were definitely disappointed. A lot of anger, sadness. The fact we both played under the same restrictions," Kuhn said.
"It's tough because we put a lot of time, a lot of money and hard work into going out and competing and winning both games and then having it taken away from us," Perkins said.
The Dearborn Stars responded on their website saying, "We as a club of over 30 years are extremely disappointed that a game between two very competitive teams could not have been settled on a level playing field."
The written statement went on to say, "For accomplished players, to be playing on that field on that day was absolutely insulting."
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The KC Athletics had the chance to compete in one of the sport's largest competitions- the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. A protest over the size of the field during a qualifying match ended their shot at the cup.More >
A Kansas City soccer team had the chance to compete in one of the sport's largest competitions- the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. A protest over the size of the field during a qualifying match ended the KC Athletics shot at the cup.More >
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