Soccer

U.S.’s best and oldest soccer tournament coming to Boise this fall. Get ready for a Cinderella run.

Soccer continues to grow in Boise. After hosting several professional matches and international indoor friendlies the past three years, Boise will add another feather in its cap when it hosts a Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup match between the Boise Cutthroats FC and Utah’s San Juan FC at 3 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Boise State rec field.

The U.S. Open Cup, entering its 106th year, is open to professional and amateur teams across the country, everyone from MLS clubs to local pub teams. The single-elimination tournament lasts nearly a year and crowns a national champ, regardless of league affiliation or the club’s pedigree.

MLS clubs dominate the later rounds, but it’s not uncommon for amateur teams to knock off lower-division pro clubs in the early stages.

“This is huge. This is something Idaho has never had,” Boise Cutthroats owner Hector Palacios said. “... With the new talks of having a USL team come here, I think this is a chance for fans to see what it’s like to have (the U.S. Open Cup) come here.”

Tickets will go on sale later on the club’s website, BoiseFCpro.com.

The Boise Cutthroats were one of 94 teams nationally drawn into the 2019 local qualifying round. The amateur club made up of former Northwest Nazarene, College of Idaho and high school players drew a bye into the second round, meaning they’d need to win two games before possibly facing a professional team.

The Cutthroats played in their first Open Cup last fall, losing in 3-2 in overtime on the road in the first round to Oregon’s IPS/Marathon Taverna.

Founded in 2017 as part of the amateur United Premier Soccer League, the Cutthroats have won three conference titles and reached the league’s national tournament each season. The league runs separate spring and fall seasons.

“We’ve never lost at home,” Palacios said. “We’ve only had six losses in three seasons since we’ve been here with the UPSL. We’ve done pretty damn good for a semi-pro team from Boise, especially with the college kids we have here.

“The whole thing with the team being in Boise is to show Idaho does have quality players.”

Palacios said the nonprofit club practices three times a week, and professional scouts sometimes attend games. Former NNU forward Fernando Alvarez signed with a lower-division German club in July.

The Boise Hawks have floated bringing a minor-league soccer team to their proposed downtown stadium. As a member of the second-division USL, it would also compete in the U.S. Open Cup.

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