West Chester United

West Chester United learns first US Amateur Championship foe

The draw for the 2016 US Soccer National Amateur Championship took place on Friday and West Chester United, winners of the USASA’s 2015 Werner Fricker Open Cup championship, will face PDL side Chicago Fire U-23s in the opening game on Friday, May 27.

“We think it’s a good draw,” West Chester United head coach Blaise Santangelo told PSP of drawing the PDL side. “It should be a very good game, good first round semifinal game. It’s going to be a wonderful weekend of soccer, and a great opportunity for our club.”

The PDL and NPSL teams have shorter preparation times than West Chester and Quinto Elemento, which have been in league play since the fall, with their squads coming together in the spring and typically largely made up of college players. West Chester United plays in the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania.

“I expect the PDL and NPSL teams to be a little more fit, younger, college age,” Santangelo explained. “They should have probably a month together as a group, and we’ve been the whole year together, basically.”

The championship tournament, which will take place at UT-Chattanooga’s Finley Stadium in Tennessee, also includes USASA Amateur Cup Champions Quinto Elemento and host Chattanooga FC of the NPSL. If West Chester wins, they will face the winner of Quinto Elemento-Chattanooga in the final on Saturday, May 28, for the chance to lift the Hank Steinbrecher Cup.

West Chester is perhaps fortunate not to have drawn Chattanooga in the opening game. The defending Steinbrecher Cup champions, Chattanooga FC is the best supported amatuer team in the country. Regularly leading the NPSL in single-game and average attendance, the team set a US amateur soccer attendance record with 18,227 on hand for the 2015 NPSL final, which they lost to New York Cosmos B.

“From what I understand, Chattanooga FC has a very strong team, and they have a huge and wonderful fan base that supports them tremendously,” Santangelo said. “So, anyone that they play against that weekend is certainly going to be under fire from the crowd.”

Asked of the challenge of potentially facing such a well-supported team in the final, Santangelo said, “I don’t think it will be overwhelming, it’s actually something the guys are looking forward to. I think any crowd we’ve ever this year has been less than 200, so for us to get a sizeable crowd, even to an away event, the guys are really looking forward to it.”

West Chester United isn’t the first area team to participate in the National Amateur Championship. Lehigh Valley United Sonic, NPSL champions at the time, lost the final on penalty kicks to PDL-side Carolina Dynamo in the inaugural edition of the tournament in 2013, and Ocean City Nor’easter participated in the 2014 edition.

Before the National Amateur Championship, West Chester faces Fredericksburg FC on the road in the first round of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup on Wednesday, May 11. If they win, they will host Harrisburg City Islanders in the second round on May 18.

2 Comments

  1. The best supported amatuer team in the country, Chattanooga regularly leads the NPSL in single-game and average attendance, and set a US amateur soccer attendance record with 18,227 on hand for the 2015 NPSL final, which they lost to New York Cosmos B.
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    they just cross their fingers in hope of The One Ring down there in Tennessee. Lots of grassroots support… a club. Boy one wonders how many more of them would begin springing up if only there was a way.
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    Nah.
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    Good luck WCU – play well.

  2. Would love to go far into the tournament to play Chattanooga !

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