About US Open Cup

The U.S. Open Cup is an American football soccer competition open to all United States Soccer Federation affiliated teams, from amateur adult club teams to the professional clubs of Major League Soccer.

Maccabi Los Angeles of California and Bethlehem Steel of Pennsylvania have both won the cup a record five times, while Greek American AA of New York hold the record for most consecutive cup victories at three. Most of these records are likely to fall over time, now that Major League Soccer offers a fully-professional league, and its teams typically dominate the competition. The old NASL did not participate in the Open Cup.

Since MLS' debut in 1996, MLS teams have won the cup in all but one of those years.  Rochester Rhinos of the 2nd division A-League (now the USL First Division) were surprise winners in 1999, defeating four MLS clubs, including Colorado Rapids 2-0 in the championship match. The first professional team to win in the modern era were  Richmond Kickers of the USISL (the current USL First Division) in 1995, one year before the start of MLS. D.C. United were the first MLS team to win in 1996.

Currently, eight teams from each level of the American Soccer Pyramid take part in the competition proper, with each league narrowing its delegation separately in the spring before the competition officially begins in the summer. In some cases, additional teams play in qualifying rounds to gain entry. One example is found with MLS clubs, as only the top six from the previous regular season get an automatic bid, while the bottom U.S.-based MLS teams face each other to qualify for the remaining two MLS slots.

Since 2008, the champion of the U.S. Open Cup has earned the right to play the CONCACAF Champions League. The first team to represent the U.S. as Open Cup champion was 2007's winner, New England Revolution.

Read more