Lynn United’s Current Status
Lynn United were formed in 2015 and are based in Lynn,
Massachusetts, a northern suburb of Boston and play in region 1 of the CSLUSA (Champions Soccer League USA). This is their first season in the CSLUSA, a semi-professional league which is a part of the 4th division of the US soccer pyramid, after leaving the MSSL (Massachusetts State Soccer League). They have gotten off to a good start in their new league, going undefeated in preseason and 1-1-0 in their first two official games.
Team Manager and starting right back, Eric Moreno was kind enough to talk with us to describe Lynn’s rise and their future prospects.
Lynn United began their journey to the CSLUSA when they first applied to be a part of the MSSL, which is a generally straightforward process just involving the submission of an application, according to Eric. However, this is where the work begins where they acquired rights to play at Manning Field for their home games which played a key role in their transition to the CSLUSA despite them thinking about this at the time. After playing several seasons in the MSSL, the team joined forces with FC Lynn and helped get the team promoted to division 1 of the MSSL. The club then merged with another team, Mass United FC, and since they were unable to gain promotion on their own they joined forces with FC Lynn and together they won the MSSL Championship. Unfortunately, the union was short-lived, as the teams separated the following season and Lynn United was born.
Why make the jump to the CSLUSA and what were the biggest challenges?
After winning the championship, Lynn United felt the competition was not to the level they desired and they began to look for the next step. The CSLUSA was originally formed in Florida and is sanctioned through the USASA. It has been rapidly expanding across the country and is now up to 30 teams total with 10 of them competing in region 1 with Lynn United. Eric stated that “the CSLUSA offered Lynn United increased competition and that each region winner receives an automatic bid into the US Open Cup, which was a big attraction for them.” The US Open Cup is where all tiers of US soccer compete,
including MLS and NASL teams. This is comparable to the FA Cup set up seen in England.
Lynn United were the only team from the MSSL to make the jump to the CSLUSA. The first requirement was having a home stadium, and lucky for Lynn United this was easy since they had been using Manning Stadium for years. This also places a larger financial burden on the team, and now the club has to find ways of making back revenue through ticket sales (Tickets are very affordable at only $6 a game and free for kids!), merchandise sales, sponsorship, and other avenues.
Besides the logistical components, the team also needed the talent to compete at this level. Eric believed the team “already had a strong core and just needed some pieces to build around it. Most players on our team were brought over from the amateurs. We kept the player’s we felt could compete at this level. We then held two tryouts: our first was open, our second was by invitation. Our first tryout had about 80 kids trial, and we only invited about 20 back to tryout alongside returning players. We selected the best 30 out of this pool, and completed our team”. The team consists of a wide variety of nationalities and backgrounds including Columbia, El Salvador, Venezuela and Nigeria amongst others.
Furthermore, the commitment is much higher now. “This league is not simply show up on Sunday, and have a beer after the game. This league requires preparation, training, and long travel commitments. These players are playing alongside future professional, and college prospects” stated Eric.
Lynn United currently sits in first place in the league, and are targeting a division title and hopefully a berth into the US Open cup.
Their next game is this Saturday (May 20) against Worcester FC at 7:30 pm EST. If you can’t attend the game in person you can follow along on the live stream section of the website here.
You can also find a match recap here on Off-Side Football if you’re unable to watch the game!
The rest of their schedule can be found here.