LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The US Soccer Federation announced on Thursday the teams who have qualified for the 2019 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Little Rock Rangers were one of those teams.
In the 106-year history of the U.S. Open Cup, Little Rock will be the first and only club from Arkansas to ever qualify.
This past season the Rangers won the Heartland Conference in only their third year of competition over the defending champs FC Wichita. The Rangers moved on to defeat the No. 1 ranked team in the National Premier Soccer League, the Laredo Heat, in the South Regional Semifinals before losing to Miami FC 2, who ended up winning the NPSL Title.
The Rangers finished ranked 8th in the NPSL which led to their qualification for the 2019 U.S. Open Cup competition.
“It is such a prestigious honor to be able to coach in the US’s oldest national soccer competition,” said Will Montgomery, Head Coach of the Little Rock Rangers. “It means you are either playing or coaching at a higher level that is worthy of being selected into this event. I’m also extremely happy the Little Rock Rangers will be the first soccer team from the state of Arkansas to be playing in the US Open Cup. It will have a tremendous impact on the growth of youth soccer locally and throughout the state.”
The Rangers first-round match of the U.S. Open Cup will either be played on Tuesday, May 7th or Wednesday, May 8th and the home teams will be selected randomly at a later date.
“There’s literally a coin flip to decide who hosts the first-round games,” Jonathan Wardlaw, President and Founder of the Little Rock Rangers, explained. “If we are fortunate enough to host, I really think we will admirably represent the state of Arkansas to US Soccer both on and off the field. Unfortunately, we can’t play at War Memorial (the Rangers home stadium) due to the field being too narrow which is disappointing, but I’ve spoken with UCA about using their field since it is natural grass, which is also a requirement.”
The Rangers opponent will be paired geographically and drawn in April.
The club will release more information and details regarding the U.S. Open Cup as they are provided to them from US Soccer.