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Continuity in the Valley

Even though FC Fargo never joined NPSL or PDL (the two open division leagues in which automatic qualification to the US Open Cup is secured through league position), the club attracted a remarkably similar pool of players as Fusion currently do.The Beljulji brothers, (Big) Ben Eastwell, (Saint) George Gauld, Stephen Harris, Jade Johnson, Fiaz Musa and Miah Wills all played for Fusion in their #USOC2018 loss to Duluth and played for FC Fargo.The Beljuljis live in Moorhead, Jade went to West Fargo High (as did Akeem Smith). George Gauld is a coach at WFHS. Jacob Weiler went to Fargo South before D1 soccer in Omaha (ironically the Summit League where NDSU are otherwise, but not in Mens soccer, members) Ben, George, Jade and Steve went to University of Jamestown (along with a bunch of other connections to the Buffalo City). Joel McIlroy went to Mary in Bismarck.This club, which revels in the slogan "a Fusion of cultures", seems to have built a roster which echoes footy's lon…
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Stepping back

I know Ive not been at it again for long this season but I have been offered the opportunity to report for E Pluribus Loonum, the SB Nation blog for Minnesota United FC - who have followed 55.1 into covering as much amateur turf as they can too.I'm not ruling out posting stuff here, but the tone will change.See you at the Loonum.

The 2018 mens season starts...in Bismarck

On Sunday, the radioactive bees will travel from the Red River Valley to the banks of the mighty Missouri to open the 2018 season as the opponents for the University of Mary in Bismarck, as the Division 2 Marauders (same conference as our own MSUM) close their "Spring" (just look outside!) games.Ironically, U-Mary's other Spring game was against Tommy Nienhaus's Jimmies. Honestly, I don't expect a swarm, at least in part because today was the first this has been mentioned. I thought the season debut would have been in the Open Cup in Duluth.Looking at the Marauders roster, there are a few local Bismarck lads but none from closer to us.If you want to pop down and see it, the details are as follows:MDU Resources Community Bowl (on the campus of Bismarck State College)
Community Bowl
1715 Edwards Ave, Bismarck, ND 585011pm kickoff on SundayNuclear Bees have a 200 mile, 3 hour trip straight down the I-94.Enjoy if you are part of the swarm.

Representing North Dakota

The city of Moorhead is proudly Minnesotan and my home for over two years. It's also a key piece of this North of Normal metropolitan area, anchored by the famous (or notorious, thanks to the Coen brothers - who actually grew up in Brainerd) city of Fargo. As a club, Dakota Fusion grew out of the philanthropic desires of NTSI owner Sajid Ghauri. To quote the club's website, "For last five years Sajid Ghauri and his company NTSI were providing opportunities to young adult players, eighteen and over, by sending them to different tournaments and funding their expenses"NTSI, and thus Fusion, have their HQ in the Manchester Office Building (appropriately enough for a soccer club, as any Manc will tell you) and that is in Fargo and thus North Dakota.The club has yet to play a game in North Dakota, and I do not know if Sajid applied to US Soccer to host on May 9th. It is unfortunate, but the club needs to survive and Moorhead have provided a steady base for both Fusion and …

Cup buzz

The fun thing about being a fan, rather than a journalist on this particular subject... other people break stuff like FUSION ARE IN THE CUP



That is the US Open Cup Handbook, posted by Neil Morris and yep, the Radioactive Bees are in the 1st round proper of the venerable Lamar Hunt Open Cup, a competition played continuously since 1914 which features qualifying mens' clubs/franchises. 

As you can see above, there are three routes to qualification:

All professional franchises automatically qualify (MLS, USL)Some amateur clubs who are successful in x season of a national league (NPSL/PDL, but weirdly not UPSL), qualify for x+1's Open Cup. Other amateur clubs play against each other in qualifying rounds during year x to qualify for x+1 Open Cup. The bees qualified for the 2018 Open Cup after playing in the 2017 NPSL Playoffs (route #2 above)
Minneapolis City were screwed out of a spot in 2017 earned by playing in the 2016 PLA Playoffs, because they then moved to NPSL North in the time…

Coaches unveiled

Becker and Hartley may sound like a law firm. They are also the head coaches who will be keeping the radioactive bees this season. Nick Becker comes to the club as head coach of the University of Jamestown Jimmies women's team to takeover from NDSU's Jim Robbins as men's coach at the fallout hive. The club's announcement makes no acknowledgement of the head coach who had taken the radioactive bees to leading Detroit City away from home in the NPSL playoffs, and the reasons for his departure remain unclear. It has also been suggested that the change in leadership may signal a substantial change in the roster composition, although the tryouts will be the judge of that. Coach Becker's assistants in Jamestown are Steve Harris, veteran of FC Fargo and Dakota Fusion between the posts and Jack Hartley, professional coach and former Jimmies team mate of Harris. More about Coach Hartley in a moment. Becker's Jimmies amassed a 14-5-1 record last year, leading them to th…

Newbees

So the powers that be at the Radioactive Bees have unveiled the Queen Bees schedule for their inaugural WPSL season. In organisational terms, since we have no rosters to fully compare yet, there are some familiar names and some familiar places. There are even, already some NDSU players who will be familiar faces to Coach Robbins. (Although I will leave the roster analysis to others) There are also teams and places that are either unfamiliar or further afield, or both. The season starts and ends against what the club call Mpls Fire, but who call themselves Twin Cities Fire, Fire 98 SC or Fire SC 98 and who's HQ is seemingly a house in Shakopee with a Gmail account. Their extensive academy system appear to play all over the Twin Cities metro, but a 55.1 journo has spotted that their home games will be at Sea Foam Stadium, 281 Hamline Ave in St. Paul. Thankfully, they also announced a streaming deal for their games. Next up are the TwinStars, who need no introduction but if you are …