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Stockton's Quest For Open Cup Title Begins Saturday

December 15, 2008 - Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL) - California Cougars News Release

STOCKTON, Calif. - Stockton's quest for the United States Arena Soccer Open Cup Championship begins Saturday December 20 when the Cougars host Vicente Figueroa and Santa Clara at Stockton Arena. The "Round of 16" game is preceded by a Premier Arena Soccer League (PASL-Premier) face off between the Turlock Express and Chico Bigfoot at 5:00PM, the Cougars match starts at 7:15PM.

Saturday is Toyota Youth Soccer Night. Youth soccer players wearing a youth team soccer jersey are free to attend the game with a paid adult. A limit of two kids per adult will apply. Tickets are available at the Stockton Arena box office, online at www.stocktoncougars.net and by calling (209) 373-1550.

The US Arena Soccer Open Cup Championship is a separate title from the Professional Arena Soccer League (PASL-Pro) championship. The PASL-Pro champion will be crowned at Stockton Arena on March 15.

The match marks the third consecutive home weekend date for the first place (4-1) Cougars. The club set a new franchise record for goals scored in a match on December 13 during a 16-7 home win against Edmonton.

Santa Clara advanced to this second round match on November 22 at Stockton Arena by winning the local tournament. They defeated the Express - the official development team of the Cougars - in the championship match, 7-2. The round robin style tournament featured the (Turlock) Express, Chico Bigfoot, Sacramento Scorpions and Santa Clara.

Stockton has yet to play in the US Arena Soccer Open Cup tournament. All PASL-Pro teams earned spots (as well as first and second round byes) in the tournament through regular season play. The winner of Saturday's match advances to the January 11 game against an undetermined opponent at Stockton Arena.

The tournament consists of the opening round (local events at PASL-Premier facilities across the nation), regional events, elimination play (round of 16), a final four round and the championship. The US Open Cup championship match is scheduled for February 16 at "The Game Arena" in Glen Carbon, IL.

Santa Clara is coached former Cougars forward Vicente "El Tigre" Figueroa. He was named the Major Indoor Soccer League rookie of the year after the 2005-06 season. Figueroa scored 26 goals and four assists for the Cougars that season. He is third on the Cougars' all-time goals scored leader list with 49. Brian Farber is second all time with 53 goals, Enrique Tovar is first with 67.

The Denver Dynamite is the only PASL-Pro team to have participated in an US Arena Soccer Open Cup match against a PASL-Premier team this season. The Dynamite defeated the Fort Collins Fury, 9-7, at the Denver Sports Complex on December 13. The Fury are the official minor league (PASL-Premier) affiliate of the Colorado Lightning.

Each PASL-Pro team has at least one PASL-Premier affiliate. Stockton has both the Turlock Express (winter PASL-Premier season) and Stockton Pumas (Summer PASL-Premier season). Denver has the Dynamite Reserves and the aforementioned Fury feed the Colorado Lightning. 1790 Reserves, Waza Reserves, Swanner United, DFW Tornadoes/Vittesse Studio and Fire Reserves are minor league affiliates of 1790 Cincinnati, Detroit Waza, St. Louis Illusion, Texas Outlaws and Wenatchee Fire FC respectively.

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