Jim Reineking, USA TODAY
Published 6:30 p.m. ET Aug. 17, 2020
For the first time since its inception in 1913, the U.S. Open Cup will not be played.
The 2020 edition of the American soccer club competition, which is open to professional leagues such as Major League Soccer and the USL Championship to levels as low as amateur adult teams, has been canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Despite this setback, the importance and significance of U.S. Soccer’s National Championship continues to grow, and we look forward to launching the 2021 tournament next spring with the same enthusiasm that was planned for this year’s 100-team competition,” Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller said in a statement. “Every club cherishes the chance to compete for a major national trophy and the U.S. Open Cup will be waiting for them next year.”
Due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the country, U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee has been forced to cancel the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup >> https://t.co/i3qbiebcVYpic.twitter.com/oApkaqVrLh
— U.S. Open Cup (@opencup) August 17, 2020
This announcement ends a 106-consecutive-year run of a competition that declared a national soccer champion since 1914. The tournament had survived the often disjointed and confusing existence that had been soccer in America, which was barren of the convenience of the century-long continuity of leagues such as Major League Baseball, National Football League and National Hockey League. The first U.S. Open Cup (originally known as the National Challenge Cup and now officially known as the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup) kicked off in 1913, seven years before the formation of the NFL and 12 years after the opening season of baseball’s American League.
The U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee indicated that those teams that qualified through the Local Qualifying Track as well as eligible national leagues (National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two) that had qualified for the 2020 competition and maintain Open Cup eligibility through next year will automatically be invited for the 2021 competition.
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The 2020 U.S. Open Cup was originally scheduled to open on March 24 and hold its championship game on either Sept. 22 or 23. Atlanta United FC is the reigning U.S. Open Cup champion, defeating Minnesota United 2-1 in last year’s final at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.