EPSA Reformats State Amateur Cup and We Don’t Know Why, by Michael Fricker [UPDATED]

In July and August rumors began to circulate that the Amateur Cup* within Eastern Pennsylvania was likely to have a new format this season. The format: a round robin followed by a semi and a final.

Eastern Pennsylvania Soccer Association (EPSA) President Ron Burnett confirmed by email on the 3rd of August that the EPSA Executive Board made the decision to change the format. The changes would be in place of the typical single elimination bracket used previously. The reasoning given was, “expanded opportunity for success.”

It is worth noting that 8 of the 12 teams entered into the cup play their regular season in the United Soccer League. Vereinigung Erzgebirge entered both (Major and Reserve) of their USLPA Teams into the Amateur Cup this season. Head Coach and Technical Director of the club had this to say when asked for comment:

“I don’t like the idea of all things not being equal. We had a great system (knock our tournament) where every game matters. Somewhere in this system there will be meaningless games played. I don’t have room on my congested schedule for meaningless games.”

-Rob Oldfield

The draw for both the Open* and Amateur State cups took place on September 19th at the State Office. An email from that morning from EPSA Office Administrator Joanne Neal outlined how the Amateur Cup rounds would be played:

The Amateur Cup involves 12 teams, and will have two brackets with two pods of three teams each. This will be a three game series, where each pod plays two matches within itself and one cross pod match. The winner of each of the four pods on aggregate points, etc., will advance from the round robin stage to the semifinals, which are single elimination. Matches will be played on alternating Sundays at 2 PM starting 10/2/22.

Our German Hungarians Head Coach, Jason was asked for comment on the changes to the cup and his response was, “No Comment.” Oldfield, however added the below to his statement:

“Also in this system hypothetically a team could win their two group matches. Know they are advancing and rest everyone and lose crossover [matches] to help eliminate a rival.”

-Rob Oldfield

With the group matches set to begin on October 2, the original schedule would have the second round of the Amateur take place 10/16 which is a Lamar Hunt Open Cup play date. As this was a conflict for the German Hungarians, Vereinigung Erzgebirge, and West Chester United, the state office sent (as of 9/26) a set of revised brackets and schedule moving 3 of the Round II matches to 10/23.

Below you will find downloadable copies of the EPSA Amateur and Open Cup “brackets” as well as a copy of the state cup policies. The first round of the Amateur cup is set to start on 10/2.

* The EPSA portion of the National Amateur Cup is named for Robert M. O’Neill. While the national competition is not named after an individual, the trophy presented to the national champion is a silver cup named the “Fritz Marth Trophy.”

** The EPSA portion of what was the USASA Open Cup is named for Frank Giancroce. While the competition is no longer held nationally by USASA, Regions 1, 2, and 3 maintained it for a number of years. West Chester from our league won the most recent one, but all signs point to the idea that that competition was the last one to be played past a state round.

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