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Lamar Hunt US Open Cup

2021-2022 US Open Cup Local Qualifying Rounds have Kicked Off in Massachusetts

The first U.S. Open Cup was played in 1914, making it the oldest cup competition for soccer in the United States and the country’s oldest annual tournament for team sports. While professional soccer came and went in various forms and incarnations, at various stages of the 20th century, the Open Cup crowned a champion for each of the last 104 years. Even through the want and woe of the Great Depression and the challenges of two World Wars, the U.S. Open Cup survived. Teams from 17 different states have won the title.

2021 CRITERIA TO PARTICIPATE IN U.S. OPEN CUP LOCAL QUALIFYING

Below are the criteria for teams to participate in local qualifying for the 2022 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (see 2022 Open Division Handbook for complete details):

  • Belong to a club or league of any Organization Member of U.S. Soccer
  • Compete in a regular (i.e.: ongoing) league competition with at least four teams, with each team playing at least ten league games during the year
  • Provide a home field that meets tournament minimum standards for local qualifying (field at least 100 yds. x 65 yds.) for each qualifying round and identify that venue at the time of registration (see dates below)
  • Remain as a member in good standing in the same league from the summer of 2021 to the end of the tournament in 2022

Davids and Goliaths

The romance of the U.S. Open Cup derives, in large part, from its format as a single-elimination competition open to all affiliated professional and amateur teams in the United States. $250,000 in prize money is on offer to the winner of the 2017 event, an unfathomable amount for the hopeful amateurs from the Open Division. And while a non-Major League Soccer side hasn’t won since the Rochester Rhinos did it back in 1999, the dream of a fairytale scramble to the final is a spur for those small sides who play for the love of the game. Financial inducements don’t stop with the champions, either, as the runner-up collects $60,000 and the team that advances farthest from each lower division gets $15,000. 

Magical Moments

Some of the most magical moments in recent Open Cup history have occurred by local qualifiers making headlines:

  • In 2012, Cal FC burst onto the scene with road wins over the Division III Wilmington Hammerheads and Division I Portland Timbers before falling in the Round of 16 to the then three-time defending Open Cup champion Seattle Sounders.
  • In 2016, another Southern California side, La Máquina ("The Machine"), reached the Fourth Round and pushed the LA Galaxy to extra-time before dropping a 4-1 result.
  • In 2017, amateur powerhouse Christos FC from Maryland earned a shock 1-0 win over the then-Division II Richmond Kickers as part of its run to the Fourth Round, where it led three-time Open Cup champs D.C. United briefly but ultimately fell after conceding three late goals.
  • In 2019, the first-time qualifier Florida Soccer Soldiers put their name in lights after a dramatic Second Round comeback in extra time to win in penalties over the Division II Charlotte Independence to reach the Third Round.