The Open Cup is the premier knock-out competition in American soccer. It is the world's third oldest tournament, and the longest running competition in American soccer. While MLS has dominated the tournament in recent years, it is an exciting competition that allows the lower leagues to size themselves up against opponents across the U.S. soccer pyramid. Competitors from USL will have the opportunity to go up against MLS counterparts and in the past have shown some surprising upset stories.
There will be 94 teams total over the whole tournament from every level of the American Soccer pyramid. Of those teams, 52 will be from Open Division clubs from the Premier Development League, National Premier Soccer League, and other amateur clubs. 22 from the USL (that's us!) and 20 from MLS will be joining in later rounds.
This year, the Open Cup will start on May 9th, with USL Clubs entering the tournament starting in the second round on May 16th.
The winner of the Open Cup gets $300,000 and has the possibility of qualifying for the CONCACAF Champions League, the North American continental tournament. The runner-up gets $100,000, and subsequently, the team from each lower league to go the farthest gets $25,000. All these figures are up from last years payouts.
Nashville SC will be looking to jump in on the increasing hype of the Open Cup lately, brought on by a lot of recent USL success. FC Cincinnati made a run all the way to the semifinals last season, and drew record attendance numbers in the process as a USL team.
The Dewar Cup is the physical trophy that is awarded to the winner every year, and each winner's name is engraved at the bottom of the trophy.