WASHINGTON, D.C. February 28, 2013 — America’s oldest soccer event celebrates its 100th edition with some big changes and more money. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which opens on May 7th, has increased its field of teams and the prize money. Brooklyn Field Club won the event in 1914 and Sporting Kansas City won it last year.
The 2013 tournament will feature 68 teams, an increase from the 64 and the largest field in the modern era (1995-present). This year also marks the second-consecutive year in which all U.S. based Division I, II and III teams will participate in the knockout tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO.
The prize money distributed has increased, with the overall champion earning a total of $250,000 (up from $100,000 in recent years). The runner-up will receive $60,000 (up from $50,000) and the team that advances the furthest from each lower division will win $15,000 (up from $10,000).
In past years, sites for the semifinals and the final were determined through a sealed-bid process, but this year the hosts of those games will be determined by a coin flip. Home teams throughout the entire tournament will be determined by random selection.
Below the the three pro divisions, the remaining 34 spots in the tournament field will be filled by amateur teams: 16 from the Premier Development League, eight from U.S. Adult Soccer Association regional qualifying, eight from the National Premier Soccer League, one from US Club Soccer and one from the United States Specialty Sports. The final will be played on Oct. 1 or 2.
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Participating Professional Teams (34 total )
Major League Soccer (Division I - 16 teams): Chicago Fire, Chivas USA, Colorado Rapids, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Philadelphia Union, Portland Timbers, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Seattle Sounders FC, Sporting Kansas City.
North American Soccer League (Division II - 6 teams): Atlanta Silverbacks, Carolina RailHawks, Fort Lauderdale Strikers, Minnesota Stars FC, San Antonio Scorpions, Tampa Bay Rowdies.
USL PRO (Division III - 12 teams): Charleston Battery, Charlotte Eagles, Dayton Dutch Lions, Harrisburg City Islanders, Los Angeles Blues, Orlando City, Phoenix FC Wolves, Pittsburgh Riverhounds, Richmond Kickers, Rochester Rhinos, VSI Tampa Bay FC, Wilmington Hammerheads.
Distribution of Amateur-Level Places (34 total):
U.S. Adult Soccer Association Regional Qualifiers - 8 places: Four USASA regional qualifiers advanced to the second round in 2012, including Cinderella story Cal FC, who reached the fourth round.
United Soccer Leagues Premier Development League - 16 places: The PDL will have the largest representation among amateur leagues. In 2012 the Michigan Bucks were the lone PDL team to reach the fourth round.
National Premier Soccer League - 8 places: The NPSL is a national amateur league affiliated with the USASA. Prior to last year, its teams participated via USASA regional qualifying.
US Club Soccer - 1 place: US Club Soccer is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. It was first represented in last year’s tournament.
U.S. Specialty Sports Association - 1 place: The USSSA is an organization member of U.S. Soccer. Its clubs will be participating for the first time in this year’s tournament.
Source: U.S. Soccer
John Haydon wrote a weekly soccer column for The Washington Times for 20 years. He has covered two World Cups and written about Major League Soccer from the league’s inception in 1996.
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