The New Orleans Jesters are proud to welcome Shreveport Rafters FC to the NPSL for the 2016 season. The arrival of Shreveport Rafters FC, not to mention other new teams like the Birmingham Hammers and Memphis City FC, continues the expansion of soccer’s burgeoning presence in the Gulf region. To celebrate soccer in the Pelican State, the Jesters and Rafters FC are pleased to announce the formation of the Louisiana Cup, the annual competition between the two teams.
“It’s great there is another Louisiana team that will provide a high level of development for players and also family entertainment,” says Jesters Head Coach and Academy Director Kenny Farrell. “There are several amateur teams in Louisiana, but having another professional minor league organization opens up new opportunities to young Louisiana players.”
Shreveport Rafters FC joined the NPSL in October 2015 and will play in the South Central division of the South region. The Jesters play in the Southeast division. Without the Louisiana Cup, the two teams would not face each other during the regular season.
“When we found out we play in different divisions, we knew we had to schedule matches with the Jesters immediately,” says Rafters FC CEO Will Broyles. “Our cities have a long shared history of helping each other. In terms of soccer, the Louisiana Cup is Shreveport and New Orleans helping each other to make soccer better in our state.”
The Louisiana Cup will be played under the same rules as the UEFA Champions League. The Cup will be played over two legs; the Rafters will visit Pan American stadium in City Park on May 10th and the Jesters will travel to Shreveport on June 7th. If the score remains tied after two games, then the team which scored more away goals will win the Cup. If there is still a draw, the Louisiana Cup will be decided by penalty shots and the winner will claim the bragging rights of best soccer team in Louisiana.
“I’m delighted we have the chance to play Shreveport in the Louisiana Cup,” says Farrell. “Our goal is to properly build soccer in the region and in the country, and this is an exciting move in that direction.”