The Houston Regals (TX), which play in the National Soccer League (NSL), were founded in 2009 and have grown into one of the biggest brands in the Houston soccer community. They have played a multitude of matches over the years, including winning a USSSA national title in Austin, Texas in February 2022.
However, this week’s Hank Steinbrecher Cup offers something different: national exposure, travel across the country, and a chance to be part of a tournament of champions. The end result will be the naming of a US Soccer National Amateur Champion.
On Friday night the Regals will be taking on Michigan’s Flint City Bucks, the 2021 USL League 2 champions and a three-time Hank Steinbrecher Cup winner, to start the tournament.
Regals Head coach Miguel Landaverde spoke about his team’s preparations and the close-knit nature of his squad.
“We are happy to play in this cup,” Landaverde said. “We are prepared and have been training for two months together. We take this very seriously. I’ve been in soccer for 20 years, and this is the first time I have seen a family, a team. Not a soccer team, but a family where everybody looks out for everybody else.”
When asked about his top players, Landaverde said that all 18 players contribute to the squad and that his defenders, midfielders, and forwards are all threats to score. The team’s versatility and ability to adapt and attack should serve them well in the competition.
Landaverde and the Regals played a friendly match against USL League 2 side Houston FC earlier this week in order to prepare for the competition. The Regals are well aware of the challenging slate of games ahead, including their matchup with the Bucks.
“We’ve been watching videos,” Landaverde added. “They are one of the top teams in USL League 2 and a three-time champion of the Steinbrecher Cup.”
Regals forward Cristian Lopez is looking forward to this unique opportunity.
“Honestly it’s going to be an unbelievable experience,” Lopez said. “Two years ago I was going to retire and leave everything behind and focus on my career since I graduated from college. It’s like a dream because I didn’t get to play at this level until now at the age of 24. The support of my teammates and Coach Miguel have helped me develop as a player. It’s like a dream, now I’m playing at this level and in a scenario like this. It’s something I am proud saying.”
Soccer fans in Houston will be cheering for their hometown team.
“In Houston, the Regals are well-known as a team,” Lopez continued. “When people see us they are wishing us good luck at the national cup. They are enthusiastic, and it is an unbelievable experience right now.”
The Regals have played in a variety of leagues over the past 13 years, including the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), Texas Premier Soccer League (TPSL), and various USASA and USSSA competitions.
Photo Credit: Houston Regals