The first-ever Little America cup is back on the calendar for 2018 and it is shaping up to be one of the most thrilling leagues of the season.
The Little America League has been around since the mid-1990s and since it was formed in 2008 has played at an average of just over 10,000 fans per match, which is well below the professional football landscape of the United States.
But it has never been more important than it is right now as the league looks to turn things around.
After a disappointing 2015/16 campaign, the league will play its third year in 2018 with a home and away season set to kick off on June 14, 2019, the day after the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
That means the league is set to start on the eve of the World Cup and the first matches are set to take place in the capital of the U.S., Columbus, Ohio, on June 9, 2019.
And there are plenty of great moments to be had in the first game, as the Little America champions, the Columbus Crew SC, will take on the defending champions, FC Cincinnati.
There are plenty to watch in the opening match, with the top two teams of the league, each from the same state, both looking to get their league back on track.
The Crew SC’s Caleb Clarke, who scored the winning goal for Columbus in the 2017 final, will be looking to make history in his first start for the Little Americans, and he has a strong group of teammates to help him do so.
“This is a new start for Caleb Clarke,” Little America President and Chief Executive Officer Greg Harris said in a statement.
“He is a former MLS player who has made an impact for the Crew and the team.
He is a consummate professional and will be given the chance to prove his worth to the Little American community in a new league.”
The Little Americans have been looking for the right person to fill the role and Caleb is the perfect person to help us make the most of this opportunity.
“While there will be plenty of positives to look forward to in this game, there will also be plenty to be wary of, especially with the first leg coming just days after the Confederations Cup in Russia.
The first leg will take place on June 17 and will see the United Soccer League (USL) side play host to FC Cincinnati, which was the first team to qualify for the World’s Cup after qualifying through the North American Soccer League’s qualifying process.
The United States defeated Russia 2-0 in a penalty shootout in the 2018 Confederations War.
While there are no guarantees, the US will be well prepared for this clash and will have the resources to handle the potential of a team like FC Cincinnati scoring a goal in the second half of a game that could well decide the outcome of the game.
In a statement, Harris said: “The Crew and FC Cincinnati will be competing for the first time in a US Open Cup match since 2007.
The match will feature a unique challenge with two teams with different backgrounds and styles of play.
“We are confident we can get a good result from both teams and we look forward the opportunity to host the second leg of this competition.”
The winner of the second game will be crowned the next Little America champion and Harris said the Little Americas team will be “looking forward to bringing this title back to the United State.”
“It is exciting to see the Little americas team making history in the process and we are looking forward to getting started in our quest to compete for the 2018 Little America title,” Harris said.