Local soccer club on verge of major tournament

Published: Dec. 16, 2022 at 8:15 AM PST
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A local soccer club, Battle Born FC, is knocking on the door to compete in the biggest soccer tournament in North America: The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

“There’s only about 100 slots to get in there,” said Marc Radow, owner of Battle Born FC. “Now, we’ve gone through the first three rounds, we’re in the fourth round. The beauty of this is, now you’re down to the top 20 of 10,000 clubs in the country to get into the official rounds of the Open Cup, which is against all the pro teams and MLS teams in the country.”

This match is nearly two years in the making. Battle Born FC formed in 2021, just after Reno 1868 FC left the pitch forever.

“From the ashes is when great things are born and that’s when we decided to create Battle Born Football Club.”

The goal for the club isn’t just to pick up the torch Reno 1868 FC left, but to carry it even further. For Battle Born FC, it all starts with youth development.

“We are basically pushing close to 20 teams in the academy youth system,” said Tito Bonilla, the team’s head coach. “We’re pushing from U9 to U19. So we have basically that entire pathway. The true player pathway where we are moving players up the latter.”

This approach was inspired by soccer overseas and gives kids something to aspire to.

“The youth teams, the young teams, feed the first team,” said Marc Radow. “It’s more than just the kids. It’s the families that are all wrapped into this club and create a community.”

It’s even more important for local talent, because, in the past, players have to leave the area if they want to be a professional soccer player.

“There was a big lack of player development, player pathway and, ultimately, there was nothing to aspire to. ,” said Adam Radow, a Midfielder for the club who grew up in Northern Nevada. “So playing in high school here, there’s good talent, but there’s no where to put that talent.”

Now there is that pathway and it all leads to the first team, which has this huge opportunity coming up. Because of snow and a few other issues, however, they’ve been practicing in their coach’s local business.

“We have the extra space and I was just like, you know what? Let’s throw down some turf, lets practice there. I’ll go to work, come back, then keep training,” said Bonilla.

Now, they’re only a day away from the match and all they need to do is win and they’re in the tournament.

“We’re a little nervous, but mostly excited,” said RJ Rupp, Captain of the first team. “I think it’s a great opportunity to show all the work that we’ve been putting in and show that we deserve to be at that next level.”

Battleborn FC is taking on Inter San Francisco on December 17 at Douglas High School with kickoff set for noon.

You can find more information and get tickets here.