Baltimore-based Christos FC has battled through to the third round of the 2017 US Open Cup - a notable achievement for any team that entered the competition in the qualifying rounds. Along the way, the club has attracted some attention on and off the field.
Prior to the start of the first round, founder and general manager Jody Haislip revealed a startling detail about the team to TheCup.us:
We are an amateur team with guys who have full-time jobs and — sad to say this but — we don’t train or practice. Guys do things individually but nothing as a group.
The team that doesn't train took down paid-to-practice pros Richmond Kickers in the second round of the Cup.
The 1-0 win over a well-regarded pro team put Christos FC into the limelight, and pitched the club into a third-round match against PDL's Chicago FC United - in Chicago. That means Christos has to fund travel and lodging beyond its usual expenses. To address the financial burden of its success, the club has started a GoFundMe campaign, seeking to raise $7,500 for the airfare, accommodation, and incremental expenses of sending a 20-strong squad to Chicago.
The campaign is going pretty well: at the time of writing this piece, it had raised about $3,500 - Christos can already send almost half a squad to Chicago, or maybe get the whole team about as far as Cleveland.
The fundraising has been spurred in part by at least one high-profile, pro player sympathetic to the part-timers' cause:
Taylor Twellman (@TaylorTwellman) May 19, 2017
New York Red Bulls captain Sacha Kljestan is a fan of Christos FC, or Cupsets, or just a supporter of grassroots American soccer; maybe simply a nice guy. And the Baltimore Cupsetters are $500 closer to Chicago thanks to Captain Kljestan.