West Chester United Brings Last (maybe) Werner Fricker Open Cup to East Penn

Folks from Eastern Pennsylvania or East Penn (said as all one word) label West Chester, PA with the term “hotbed of soccer.” On Saturday, July 18, Blaise Santangelo and his predator men proved the label right, when they won the last National USASA Open Cup in Virginia Beach.

On Friday, July 17, West Chester won 4:1 over California South’s Chula Vista FC, the amateur club that recently made waves in the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. The win over the Region IV team put West Chester into the Championship Final.

That match was played on Saturday, July 18, in the hot sun of Virginia. They took on Chicago’s RWB Adria, a two time US Amateur Cup Champion, and the winners of the 2014 Hank Steinbrecher Trophy. The testament to the power of these two teams, (and the necessity for this cup) was the fact that until the whistle blew; either club could have won it. In the end, West Chester won 2:1 over Adria and in doing so; they entered their name on a list USASA Open Cup Champions.

That list begins in 1999 when USASA (the first ‘A’ standing for Amateur instead of Adult at the time) began determining its own champion of the US Open Cup. The first winners of it were the United German Hungarians of Oakford, PA. If you do not know, the German Hungarians was the late Werner Fricker’s club. It was not until 2000 that the leaders of USASA renamed the cup for Fricker in honor of his work in the game.

Now in 2015, West Chester United, a club from Eastern Pennsylvania, Fricker’s State, and the United Soccer League of Pennsylvania, Fricker’s league, won Fricker’s cup. Moreover, they won the last one. As a result of, US Soccer restructuring Lamar Hunt US Open Qualifying, and the (ill conceived) claim of redundancy of the open cup alongside the US Amateur Cup, the USASA National Board of Directors voted on January 17, 2015 to “eliminate the USASA Open Cup (currently called the Werner Fricker Cup), beginning in 2016 and allow any USASA registered player to participate in what is currently known as the National Amateur Cup,” (www.usadultsoccer.com).

When the National Cup Chairman presented West Chester United with the Cup, he stated rather passionately, “Werner Fricker was not a man to go away quietly from anything. This cup will not either. There is talk that this is the last one. This cup will live on in Region I and Region II.”