May 28, 2013
WASHINGTON - On Wednesday evening current and former members of the Georgetown University men's soccer team will meet at Red Bull Arena in a David vs. Goliath matchup in the third round of the 2013 Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. As Reading United of the Professional Development League battles Major League Soccer's New York Red Bulls, Hoyas will be on both sides of the pitch.
"Reading United is one of the top PDL clubs in the country and it's a great opportunity for our guys to play against very good competition," said Georgetown Head Coach Brian Wiese.
Reading is led by Georgetown senior forward Steve Neumann (New Hope, Pa./Council Rock North) who is back for his final season with the team. Neumann was named team captain after two successful seasons in Reading where he appeared in 21 matches, finding the back of the net four times while recording five assists.
"It's a huge honor for me to be captain of this Reading team," said Neumann. "When you look at the caliber of players that Reading brings in each and every year, it's obviously a great place to develop your game and maintain sharpness for the college season. Also, looking back at all of Reading United players that went onto professional careers, it is a great honor to be a part of such a successful program."
Neumann was GU's MVP after a successful season for the Blue & Gray. He was named a Second Team All-American by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America as well as receiving a nod to the College Soccer News' First Team and TopDrawerSoccer.com's Team of the Year. He was also an NSCAA First Team All-Northeast Region honoree. Neumann was named All-BIG EAST First Team for the second-consecutive year. He was second on the team in scoring with 10 goals and 13 assists for 33 points. Neumann's 13 assists ranked him first in the BIG EAST Conference and second in the nation in helpers. This past season, the forward was the BIG EAST Offensive Player of the Week, TopDrawerSoccer.com Forward of the Week and earned a spot on the BIG EAST Weekly Honor Roll. He was also a MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist.
Reading United is one of the premier clubs within the PDL. The squad is also the exclusive minor league affiliate with the Philadelphia Union of the MLS. The PDL is the pro development league of the United Soccer Leagues in the United States, Canada, and Bermuda, forming part of the American Soccer Pyramid. It is currently the top-level men's amateur soccer competition in the United States.
This season, two prospects from the Philadelphia Union's Academy team joined Reading United after successful freshman seasons on the Hilltop.
Defender Keegan Rosenberry (Ronks, Pa./Lancaster Mennonite) was added to the squad along with forward Melvin Snoh (Coatesville, Pa./Malvern Prep). Rosenberry appeared and started in 25 games this season on the Hoya backline. He tallied three assists for the year. Snoh also saw minutes on the pitch playing in 24 games with two starts to his credit. He was the team's sixth-leading scorer with one goal and two assists for four points on the season.
Georgetown had the most successful season in program history with its first-ever trip to the College Cup and a national championship game appearance. GU finished the season with a record of 19-4-3 and a mark of 6-3-0 in the BIG EAST Conference. The 19 wins was the most in program history. The Hoyas were the BIG EAST Blue Division Champions, the BIG EAST Championship runners-up and advanced to the national championship game in PKs in a thrilling game against the University of Maryland.
Dating back to 1914, the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup is the oldest current national cup competition in United States soccer and is among the oldest in the world, including the second-oldest continuously operating. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual US Open Cup is holding its 100th tournament in 2013. The winning club receives $250,000, while there are monetary prizes for the runner up and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division. The last non-MLS team to win the Open Cup was the Rochester Raging Rhinos in 1999.
"It's obviously a huge opportunity for us to be playing against an MLS side in a meaningful tournament game," said Neumann. "I think that's the beauty of the US Open Cup, much like the FA Cup in England, which both give smaller clubs the opportunity to take on the top tier professional sides in each country."
Reading advanced to the third round after upsetting the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Professional Division last Tuesday with a 1-0 result. Coming into the match, Reading had outscored opponents, 13-0, but it had defeated a professional side in the Open Cup. Mario Pinto's goal in the ninth minute proved to be all it took as the defense stood strong for 81 minutes to advance Reading to the third round.
The trio of Hoyas will not be the only representation from the Hilltop at Red Bull Arena. Midfielder Ian Christianson is currently on the active roster for the Red Bulls.
Christianson was the 22nd overall pick in the 2013 MLS SuperDraft and signed with the Red Bulls following a successful training camp. He is one of a record four seniors from Georgetown to be drafted this season. The Cedar Rapids, Iowa native has battled injury early in the season, but is still on the active roster and available to the coaching staff.
Wednesday's game is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m., at Red Bull Arena. The winner will play the winner of the Rochester Rhinos and the New England Revolution on June 12.
"I think we are ready for the challenges that the Red Bulls will throw at us," said Neumann. "Obviously we have a lot of respect for them, with guys like Thierry Henry who has played at the highest level in the sport. But we are up for the challenge and will give it our best shot because we know these types of opportunities are rare."