U.S. Open Cup: A Storied History

May 6, 2019

A Storied History
The 106th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup kicked off earlier this month. The U.S. Open Cup has been played every year since 1913, surviving World Wars and the Great Depression, making it the oldest on-going national soccer competition in the United States and the third-longest open soccer tournament in the world.

The early years of the tournament were dominated by the factory teams of the North East like the Fall River Marksmen, Chicago Brick Layers and Bethlehem Steel, who have won a record five U.S. Open Cups.

After World War II, the Cup would see amateur teams from the major American cities rise to power. The influx of immigrant communities gave rise to great teams like the Philadelphia Ukrainians, the Brooklyn Hispano, and 5-time champions Maccabi Los Angeles.

Since 1996, MLS has controlled the U.S. Open Cup. A MLS team has won 22 of the last 23 U.S. Open Cups. The Chicago Fire, Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City have had the most success, winning four Cups each, with the Houston Dynamo winning last season’s tournament.

The last team not in MLS to take home the Open Cup was the Rochester Rhinos in 1999 and the last time non-MLS team to make it to the final was the Charelston Battery in 2008.

The Namesake
Lamar Hunt was one of the most influential people in the history of American sports, especially for soccer in this country. He was an original owner of the Dallas Tornado during the formation of the golden era of the NASL. Hunt would be an active member and promoter for the sport until the final days of the league.

30 years later, Hunt would be at the forefront of the creation of Major League Soccer. He was not only an original founding investor of the league, but also owned the Columbus Crew and the then-named Kansas City Wizards. As an owner of the Columbus Crew, Hunt was also a major financier for Mapfre Stadium, the first soccer-specific stadium ever built in the United States.

In 1999, the United States Soccer Federation renamed the U.S. Open Cup after Hunt to honor his massive contributions to the growth of the sport in this country.

The Miami FC is set to host the Florida Soccer Soldiers in a 1st round U.S. Open Cup match, Wednesday, May 8th at 7:00 p.m. at Barry University. Get your tickets now at MiamiFC.com!