The inaugural edition of the Minnesota Super Cup is set to kick-off only nine days from now (you can check out the full schedule here), but already we’re learning new and exciting information about what Jon Martinson has in store for the future of the competition.
In a tweet yesterday, it was announced that the competition would be expanding to include eight teams next year, and that they would provide an open qualifying pathway for “all Minnesota based pre-professional clubs that meet the minimum standards for entry into the competition.”
Let’s start off by diving into the expansion of teams, shall we? Currently, the Super Cup contains six teams: Minneapolis City SC and St. Croix Legends of USL2, Duluth FC and Med City FC of the NPSL, Vlora FC of the UPSL, and MNUFC’s U19 team. Next season, this number will grow to eight teams, and we know how the competitors for the Cup will be chosen as well.
The following leagues each have automatic qualifiers for next season’s Minnesota Super Cup: USL2 and the NPSL will have two teams; UPSL, MLS Next, and MASL Division 1 will each have one team; and one team will qualify through the MN Super Cup Open Qualifier. Now, it’s not just going to be a matter of picking and choosing which Minnesota teams that they want to put into the competition. No, that would go against the very idea of the Super Cup. So instead, qualification will be based on total points earned in the individual leagues with tie-breakers then falling to goal differential, then home wins, and finally a coin toss.
Now, in a league such as MLS Next, there are two Minnesota teams, MNUFC and Shattuck St. Mary’s, vying for one spot.
A quick look at other leagues show how much of a fight it will be to get into next year’s competition. Minneapolis City, Rochester FC, and St. Croix in USL2; Duluth FC, Minnesota TwinStars FC, Joy Athletic Club, and Med City FC in the NPSL; and eleven(!) and ten(!) different teams in the UPSL and MASL each fighting for one spot in the competition. Now, you may be thinking, but what if Minneapolis City or St. Croix qualify in both USL2 AND UPSL? Well, not to worry, because each team can only be entered into the competition once. If this were to happen, instead whichever of the qualifiers comes from the lower league (in this case the UPSL), then the junior of the two squads will be replaced with the next highest point winning club from that league.
Finally, what I think is the most exciting part of this announcement, the Open Qualifiers. The Open Qualifiers were created by Jon Martinson, the brain behind the invention of the Super Cup, as a way to help build Minnesota soccer:
“A big part of the Minnesota Super Cup concept is to create opportunities for Minnesota clubs. Opportunities for player improvement, organizational development, and meaningful games.
The Open Qualifiers are designed to do just that, provide opportunity to as many Minnesota clubs as possible. With a small group of clubs, six in 2023 and expanding to eight teams in 2024, we wanted to find a way to involve more of the community and open a pathway for teams outside of the National leagues to get into the MNSC.
With the Qualifiers open to all pre-professional clubs in Minnesota regardless of league, I am hoping to see some interesting matchups between clubs that would typically never get to play each other.”-Jon Martinson
The Minnesota Super Cup will have one of their eight teams be decided by a knockout tournament taking place between August 1st, 2023 and March 1st, 2024. All teams that complete the application and meet the competition’s requirements and minimum standards will be allowed to compete in the qualifiers. Each round of the tournament will be determined by a random draw, with teams playing each other and the winner advancing until there is only one team left. If you think you and your team have a shot at taking on some of the biggest names in Minnesota soccer, you can check out the requirements and register for the qualifiers by visiting the Super Cup website: mnsupercup.com.