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2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Structure Finalized

CHICAGO (April 30, 2009) – A total of 40 teams, including 24 professional and 16 amateur clubs, will compete in the 2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup when it kicks off in June for the 96th consecutive year.

Qualifying for the first round of the tournament is slated to be completed by May 25, with the pairings announced shortly thereafter. Eight MLS teams enter the tournament on June 30 in the third round. The quarterfinals will be played July 7, the semifinals will be played July 21 or 22, and the final will be played on Sept. 2.

With 40 teams in the tournament in 2009, the tournament will begin with the first round on June 9 with all 32 lower division teams. First-round pairings will be determined by dividing the clubs geographically into eight groups of four and then conducting random draws within each group. On June 16 in the second round, the 16 first-round winners will face off with eight victors moving into the third round to square off against eight MLS teams.

The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which is recognized as U.S. Soccer’s National Championship, is an annual competition open to all amateur and professional soccer teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. The tournament has crowned a champion for 95 consecutive years dating back to 1914.

Within the U.S. Open Cup framework, teams compete in one of the following four categories: professional outdoor Division I (Major League Soccer), Division II (USL First Division) or Division III (USL Second Division); or Amateur Division (USL Premier Development League & U.S. Adult Soccer Association).

The U.S. Open Cup is a single-elimination tournament, with games tied after regulation being decided in two 15-minute overtime halves. If the score is still tied after overtime, the winner is decided in a penalty kick shootout. The team that advances the furthest from each level except Division I will earn a $10,000 cash prize. The runner-up will take home $50,000, while the champion will collect $100,000. The winner also will have the team’s name engraved on the historic Dewar Challenge Trophy, the oldest trophy in American team sports that is housed in the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Oneonta, N.Y.

2009 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Schedule
May 25          Qualifying Deadline
May 27          Pairings Announcement
June 9           First Round: 32 lower division teams enter tournament
June 16        Second Round: 16 Round 1 winners face off
June 30        Third Round: Round 2 winners face eight MLS teams
July 7             Quarterfinals: Round 3 winners
July 21/22     Semifinals: Quarterfinal winners
Sept. 2           Final: Semifinal winners

Composition of participating teams:
8 - Major League Soccer
8 - United Soccer Leagues First Division
8 - United Soccer Leagues Second Division
16 - Amateur (8 USL Premier Development League, 8 USASA regional qualifiers)
Total Number of Teams: 40
Total Number of Games: 39