"I can't emphasize enough how important this stadium is to soccer in the United States," said Steinbrecher in making the announcement. "Stadiums like this help to give a permanence to the professional game in this country, and what better way to illustrate that than by bringing the oldest trophy in U.S. team sports to Columbus."
Dating back to 1914, the U.S. Open Cup is among the oldest cup competitions in the world of soccer. Open to all affiliated amateur and professional teams in the United States, the annual U.S. Open Cup is an 86-year-old single-elimination tournament based on similar competitions played across the world concurrent with domestic league action.
"This is a great honor for the city of Columbus and just one of many world-class events we will be hosting at the new stadium in the future," said Crew general manager Jamey Rootes, whose team lost in overtime of last year's final to the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field in Chicago.
For ticket information, please contact the Columbus Crew at 614/221-CREW (2739).
Qualifying for 28 of the 32 positions in the 1999 U.S. Open Cup has started across the country among 146 teams in the United Soccer Leagues' A-League, D3 Pro League and Premier Development League (PDL), as well as Major League Soccer and the U.S. Amateur Soccer Association (USASA). Along with eight teams from the A-League and D3 Pro League, four teams each from the PDL and USASA regional qualifying will join eight MLS teams in the final field of 32 teams competing for the Dewar Cup Trophy.
Major League Soccer will continue qualifying teams this weekend, with the winner of this Saturday's regular season matches between the Miami Fusion and NY/NJ MetroStars at Giants Stadium and the Tampa Bay Mutiny and Los Angeles Galaxy at the Rose Bowl becoming the eighth and ninth teams to qualify for the 1999 U.S. Open Cup.
The tournament's first round is scheduled for June 9-13 and will match-up eight qualifiers from the D3 Pro League against four PDL and four USASA qualifiers. The first round winners will then be drawn against eight A-League qualifers, with eight MLS teams joining in the third round.
As in year's past, a draw will be held prior to each round of the tournament to determine the competition's pairings. Played under FIFA rules once the tournament proper kicks off in June, each Open Cup match will finish with a winner, with tie games going into 30 minutes of sudden death overtime, and then to penalty kicks, if needed.