CHICAGO (July 6, 2023) - U.S. Soccer is accepting applications from teams to enter the Qualifying Rounds for the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, U.S. Soccer's National Championship. The entry deadline is Monday, July 31, 2023.
The historic annual tournament, preparing to kick off its 109th edition, is the only high-profile competition in American team sports that provides amateur sides the opportunity to face professionals in meaningful competition.
Any U.S. Soccer-affiliated team outside of the professional leagues (Division I - Major League Soccer, Division II - USL Championship and Division III - National Independent Soccer Association, MLS NEXT Pro and USL League One) and not a part of an amateur league that chooses the Open Division National Leagues track (which uses league results from the previous year to determine its qualifiers) may enter the U.S. Open Cup via the Qualifying Rounds.
To be eligible, a team must meet basic criteria spelled out in U.S. Soccer's Open Cup Policy, including belonging to a club or league of any Organization Member of U.S. Soccer and competing in a league with at least four teams where each plays a minimum of ten league games during the year. Teams must also have a field that is at least 65 yards wide by 100 yards long that meets other basic minimum standards available for use on one of the dates of each Qualifying Round.
Teams may enter by submitting an official application via the online portal on usopencup.com and paying the appropriate entry fees and performance bond.
- #USOC2024 - Open Division Handbook
- REGISTER - 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup - Open Division Qualifying Rounds
Open Cup Qualifying Rounds, like the Open Cup Tournament Proper, will be conducted on a single-game, knockout basis with up to four rounds of matches in Fall 2023 scheduled for weekend dates. Matchups will be determined geographically to minimize travel time and expense. Random selection will be used when practicable to determine pairings, and home teams will be determined by coin flip.
A preliminary allocation of 2024 U.S. Open Cup First Round slots for each of the Open Division qualifying pools (i.e.: Open Division Qualifying Rounds and each National League entered) will be announced shortly after the Open Division Qualifying entry deadline. The final allocation will be determined in January 2024 after the Division I, II and III professional team counts are confirmed.
CRITERIA TO PARTICIPATE IN U.S. OPEN CUP OPEN DIVISION QUALIFYING ROUNDS
Below are the criteria for teams to participate in Open Division Qualifying Rounds for the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup (see 2024 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 Open Division 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 2023 to the end of the tournament in 2024
KEY U.S. OPEN DIVISION QUALIFYING DATES:
July 31- Team application and entry fee deadline for Open Division Qualifying track
Aug. 9* - Teams approved for Open Division qualifying announced
Aug. 24* - Matchups for first qualifying round announced
Sept. 9-10 - First Qualifying Round
Sept. 30-Oct. 1 - Second Qualifying Round
Oct. 21-22 - Third Qualifying Round
Nov. 18-19 - Fourth Qualifying Round
Jan. 2024 - Final allocation of First Round slots for Open Division qualifiers announced
* Estimated date for announcement.
CHANGES FOR 2024 QUALIFYING ROUNDS
- Beginning with the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup:
- The schedule for Qualifying Rounds has been condensed to be completed prior to Thanksgiving.
- The player eligibility policy has been updated to allow players that appear in the Qualifying Rounds to be eligible to appear for Professional teams in the tournament proper should the player sign with a Professional Club. Players who appear in the qualifying rounds remain ‘cup-tied’ to teams within the Open Division, and a player will still only be permitted to play for one team in the Tournament Proper.
- The United Premier Soccer League’s (UPSL’s) Spring Season National Champion will receive a bye to the First Round of the 2024 Tournament Proper. The U.S. Adult Soccer Association’s (USASA’s) National Champion also retains a bye into the First Round of the Tournament Proper. All other UPSL and USASA clubs remain eligible to enter into and compete in the Qualifying Rounds.
- All teams entering via the Qualifying Rounds will pay a $300 Referee Fee. U.S. Soccer will pay the match officials directly, and this change will control the costs for all teams participating by capping the expense for match officials at $300 per team.
OPEN DIVISION TEAMS CONJURE OPEN CUP MAGIC
- Some of the most magical moments in recent Open Cup history have involved Open Division clubs:
- In 2019, first-time qualifiers Florida Soccer Soldiers put their name in lights. After a dramatic comeback in extra time, the team won via penalty shootout against Division II Charlotte Independence to reach the Third Round.
- In 2017, amateur powerhouse Christos FC from Maryland earned a shock 1-0 win over then-Division II Richmond Kickers on a run to the Fourth Round where they briefly led three-time Open Cup champs D.C. United.
- In 2016, 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 2012, Cal FC burst onto the scene with a road win over Division III Wilmington Hammerheads giving the amateur side the opportunity to claim a famous 1-0 win against Division I Portland Timbers in front of the Timbers Army.
ABOUT THE U.S. OPEN CUP
The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer's National Championship – has crowned a champion annually since 1914 (with the exception of 2020 & 21 due to COVID-19). The history-filled tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. It is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest continuously run national cup tournament.
In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.
The U.S. Open Cup winner earns $300,000 in prize money, a berth in the Concacaf Champions League and the club’s name engraved on the Dewar Challenge Trophy – one of the oldest nationally-contested trophies in American team sports – now on permanent display at the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas. The runner-up receives $100,000, while the team that advances the farthest from each lower division takes home a $25,000 cash prize.