Maryland Champions League Everything You Could Wish For
We are two weeks into the Maryland Champions League (MCL) and I can’t believe this isn’t streamed. In all respect, I truly believe that other states and leagues should be paying attention. But let me give some more details in-order for my sentiment to be felt.
Let’s start with what the MCL is. It is a Maryland State Cup, prior to this year it was known as Rowland Cup. The Rowland Cup is one of the most, if not the most, prestigious tournaments in the state. This cup dates to 1914, when the tournament was first held. Since then, many teams have been crowned champion. Well-known teams like Christos FC, Baltimore Bays, Baltimore SC, and many more have played in this cup. With all this history, Maryland State Soccer Associations (The governing body of Maryland soccer and the MCL) had a golden opportunity to use this cup to be a glimpse of what the future of US soccer could look like.
From what twitter comments are telling me, the majority of lower league soccer fans feel like grassroots soccer leagues are in contestant competition with each other. Whether stealing teams or invading cities were leagues have established brands, the reality seems to reflect this claim. In a time were lower league media is shouting “let’s work together for an open system” and leagues ignore this, Maryland has decided to step up and embrace the idea completely.
MSSA took their oldest tournament and their two United States Adult Soccer Association sanctioned Elite amateur leagues, Maryland Major Soccer League and Washington Premier League, and formed a system were leagues work together and push their best teams forward to the next level of soccer.
Right now, MCL is the state’s path to qualify for regional championship, which could lead to the National Amateur Cup, and possibly lead to the Open Cup (let’s dream big right?!). To qualify for the MCL, teams must hold on to one of the top four spots of the league table from Maryland Major Soccer League and Washington Premier League. The MCL points will be given to clubs based of regular season matches were teams in the cup play each other in their respective leagues. The winner of the #MCL will head to the region 1’s Werner Fricker Cup.
Several items are left to figure out; such as, will the WPL and MMSL teams play each other or are they exclusively based on their regular season matches. If that is the case, we should hope MSSA reads this and thinks about the future of the Cup, because the thought of Yinz United vs Christos FC is something exciting that any grassroots soccer fan would want to see. [As of this date, the logistics haven’t been worked out on facilitating inter league play, but it is being worked on!]
From my perspective, this is a state association doing things right and are giving exciting soccer to watch! Let’s hope more people get behind this.
Clubs included in the MPL:
Maryland Major Soccer League
Steel Pulse FC
World Class Premier
Washington Premier League
Capital City FC