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Driessen Named VP at Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC

Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC is pleased to announce Koen Driessen as the club’s first Vice President.

“I have worked with Koen for several years now and I have seen him grow a lot since he first started,” President Mike Mossel concluded. “He really understands how to built a network and what it takes to make a franchise successful. He also brings several years of Dutch Lions experience to Cincinnati and above all he has an ‘orange heart.’ I look very much forward to working together with him in making the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC a strong Dutch Lions franchise.”

Driessen has been an employee of the Dayton Dutch Lions for the past two years, starting in the role of Business Manager before being promoted to Business and Stadium Development Manager. He has been tasked with the organization, execution, and overall performance of the three business units: Marketing, Sales and Media Relations as well as leading plans for new franchises and a stadium in the Dayton area.

Photos Courtesy of Dayton Dutch Lions FC

He is no stranger to the world of sports management. Driessen was an Assistant Manager at Global Sports Communication, working as a sports agent for 120 world-class athletes from 24 different countries. These athletes went on to the Olympic Games, World Championships, and European Championships.  He also worked for Inter Football/Number 10, a leading sports marketing company after being employed by one of the largest youth soccer organizations in the state of California.

“I am honored and thrilled that the organization gives me the chance to become Vice President of the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC,” Driessen commented. “I will be responsible for the total organization in combination with being Business Development Manager and Stadium Development Manager inDayton. I am looking forward to bring this franchise to the highest level both on and off the field.”

Driessen has a strong vision for the future of the Cincinnati franchise. Giving local talent a chance to play in a high quality environment is a major priority as is providing a gateway to the professional level. The Dutch Lions can offer PDL players many opportunities, hopefully sending them to USL PRO, MLS, or even Europe thanks to their numerous partnerships and affiliations.

He believes strongly in the Cincinnati market, thanks to the quality soccer programs already in the region as well as strong local businesses that can help the sport grow. Engaging local universities will provide innovate, ambitious students with opportunities to work with those experienced in the field.

The Cincinnati Dutch Lions will begin play in the Premier Development League in 2014.

Cincinnati Gains a PDL Franchise

The Dutch Lions FC is starting a second club in Ohio with the acquisition of the Premier Development League franchise in Cincinnati. The team will play under the name Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC and will start league play in May 2014. The team will consist of top college players and several Dutch players and have a close partnership with the professional team in Dayton that plays in the USL PRO Division.

Different than the Dutch Lions FC clubs in Dayton and Houston, the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC will not have a youth academy system, but instead solely focus on a Men’s team.

Mike Mossel, President of the Dutch Lions Capital Group BV and Dayton Dutch Lions FC, commented on the acquisition:

“Starting with the Cincinnati Dutch Lions FC feels like coming home. When Erik (Tammer) and I wanted to start a professional soccer club in the USA back in 2009, Cincinnati was our first choice since I went to Xavier University and played for the Cincinnati Riverhawks in the USL A-League. Back then I already saw the potential and need for a high level soccer team and professionally run organization. But at that point the Kings already had the license so we moved up north to Dayton. We are very happy to be there and the last year we have been exploring the option to start a PDL team. I can’t wait to go back to my old school Xavier University and offer the local soccer community a high level of soccer and get people excited.”

Q& A with Josh Hakala of

Who are the favorites to win the Open Cup this year?

I think it really comes down to depth and a team’s commitment to winning the tournament. It’s been nice to see fewer and fewer teams just throwing out 3rd string lineups as the years pass, but I think that has a lot to do with the rosters expanding and having the Champions League as a reward for winning the tournament.

What is the likelihood of a non-MLS team winning the Cup?

That’s the beauty of the tournament, is that any team could win. MLS teams obviously have an advantage, but just as MLS teams have gotten more talented and deeper, that has created a trickle-down effect where lower division teams are getting stronger as well. I’m not sure how anyone could think it’s impossible, really. Just look at the last five years where we’ve seen lower division teams reach the Semifinals four times, including the Charleston Battery playing in the 2008 Final.

Is there any chance that someone could start an Open Cup on the women’s side? There are over 70 WPSL teams, over 25 W-League, and a few WPS teams that are not playing anywhere this season. That is a lot of teams, certainly enough for a cup-style competition. What might it look like?

The USASA runs a women’s Open Cup, but the USSF does not have a women’s version of the Lamar Hunt US Open Cup. There are certainly enough teams to compete, and I would love to see it happen, and we would gladly find room on to cover it. However, the reality is, this is a big country, so travel is an issue, and from an organizational standpoint, the USSF seems to barely have the staff and resources to fully support the men’s tournament, so unless someone else stepped up to organize it, I don’t know if it’s very likely to happen.

What will it take for the Open Cup to gain more prominence in America?

I say this all the time, but I truly think that the tournament would sell itself, if more people were aware of it. I tell people all the time, even non-soccer fans, “Imagine if your local single-A baseball team got a chance to play the New York Yankees in a meaningful March Madness-style tournament?” I’ve never spoken to anyone who didn’t think that was a fantastic idea. In a country that worships drama, underdogs, single-elimination tournaments, this should be a no-brainer. But unfortunately, very little is done to promote the tournament and, as of now, the only Open Cup games you’ll ever see on TV is the championship game. Honestly, I don’t think it’s the semifinals and the final that will raise awareness, it’s amateur teams knocking off professional teams in the early part of the tournament that make this tournament unique.

What was the greatest team to ever participate in the U.S. Open Cup?

Comparing teams from different eras is really difficult because the soccer landscape has changed so drastically over the last 98 years that the tournament has been. The difference between the teams that competed in the early part of the 20th century and the professional era we live in now are night and day. One of the more impressive teams of the past was Bethlehem Steel, based out of Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. They lost to the eventual champion Brooklyn Field Club in the first tournament in 1914, and then went on a run where they won the Open Cup, then called the National Challenge Cup, in 1915, 1916, lost in the title game in 1917, then won in 1918 and 1919. Their last championship came in 1926, but they also made the semifinals in 1924, 1927 and 1930. Not a bad 17-year run.

What makes the Cup special and how does it rate/compare to other competitions elsewhere in the world?

The US Open Cup is one of the oldest cup competitions in the world, and off the top of my head, I believe it’s the third or fourth oldest continuously running cup competition worldwide. As I said before, the beauty of the tournament is the fact that anyone can put a team together and if they keep winning, they can match up against one of the top professional clubs in the country. I think with the right amount of effort to promote it, American soccer fans, as well as your average sports fan, could really latch on to this historic competition.

Notre Dame College and the Tourbeau Sports Group College Soccer Showcase

The next time Walsh University’s Ben Truax steps on a pitch, it likely will be as a professional. Truax, a Mansfield (OH) native, was one of 65 players selected for the Tourbeau Sports Group College Soccer Showcase in Orange Beach, Alabama.

Click here to hear from TSG President Chase Neidig.

Or take a moment to listen to sportswriter Rudy Roediger talk about Ohio’s best kept secret: the men’s soccer program at Notre Dame College.

If you have trouble accessing the audio, visit International Soccer Network on iTunes.

PDL Bucks Win Again

Akron's Luke Holmes continues to impress, some might say dominate, in PDL play.

The Michigan Bucks retained their hold on first place in the United Soccer League’s (USL) Great Lakes Division with a 2-1 win over FC London on Friday evening.    The Bucks (4-1-1, 13 points) handed London their first loss of the season (3-1, 9 points) when they closed the deal with a second half Kenny Uzoigwe goal in the 56th minute.  

Uzoigwe’s header from a Sebby Harris (Oxford, MI) free kick from mid field put the team on top to stay, while the defense held off a late London rally for the equalizer.  Kenny’s third goal of the season, along with his three assists put him atop the Bucks scoring leaders with nine points. 

Forward Luke Holmes (Oldham, England/ Akron) opened the scoring in the fourth minute when he smacked home a left footed shot from close range to give the Bucks a very early 1-0 lead.  Holmes has three goals and two assists on the season for the Bucks (8 points).

As usually is the case, both teams battled the entire match and defended tightly to keep the game to a low scoring affair.   PDL Honorable Mention player this week, goalkeeper Mitch Hildebrandt (Livonia, MI/ Oakland) came up big on several occasions in registering his fourth win of the season in the Michigan goal.  Hildebrandt was denied his fifth shutout of the season when striker Harris Cekic scored on a FC London penalty kick to tie the game at one in the 18th minute.

Bucks coach Gary Parsons was happy to get his first road win of the season, especially in a hostile environment.   ”London had a nice crowd tonight (over 950 people) in a great soccer park.   They have done a nice job here with this club and always put one of the hardest working teams in the PDL on the field each year.   As hard as it is to play against them, we always have competitive matches that are entertaining for the fans.   I am happy with the progress we are making as a team and need to continue to build on our winning streak Sunday in Toronto,” said Parsons.

Michigan continues their Canadian tour this weekend by taking the short drive to Toronto to take on the Lynx on Sunday (6:00 PM kick off).  The Bucks will look to make it five wins in a row after stumbling out of the gate with an opening season road trip that produced only a tie and a loss.  Following Sunday’s match, the Bucks return home to take on the Hamilton FC Rage on Saturday, June 18 at Borden Park as part of the Rochester Soccer Club youth tryouts.