RICHMOND, VA - (Tuesday, March 5, 2013) – The largest field of teams and a significant increase in prize money highlight the 100th edition of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, which kicks off May 7.
The 2013 tournament features 68 teams, an increase from the 64 that competed last year, marking 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 tournament proper: 16 from Major League Soccer, six from the North American Soccer League and 12 from USL PRO. The Richmond Kickers will enter the tournament in the Second Round on Tuesday, May 21. Second round winners will be paired against 16 MLS sides on Tuesday, May 28.
The amount of prize money distributed will also see a substantial increase, with the overall champion earning a total of $250,000 (up from $100,000 in recent years). The tournament 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).
Another significant change for 2013 is the process for determining the site for the Open Cup tournament semifinals and final. In past years, the sites for the final three matches of the tournament had been 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.
Beyond the Division I, II, and III teams, the remaining 34 spots in the tournament field will be filled by amateur teams from the Adult Council category. There will be 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 Association. Entry deadline for all amateur teams is March 15.
The tournament will begin with the Play-In Round to be completed by May 7 and will culminate with the tournament final, which will take place on Oct. 1 or 2.
The 2013 season marks the 15th time the Richmond Kickers have qualified for the U.S. Open Cup over the past 21 seasons, with an overall record of 24-13 during tournament play. The Kickers claimed the U.S. Open Cup title the first year of the Professional Era in 1995 and have since made it to the quarterfinal round five times (1995, 2001, 2004, 2007, 2011) and the semifinal round twice (1995, 2011). Ousting five Major League Soccer teams along the way, including Colorado Rapids in 2000, D.C. United in 2004, LA Galaxy in 2007 and Columbus Crew and Sporting Kansas City in 2011, the Kickers became the first lower division team to defeat back-to-back MLS teams on the road. With 82 total goals scored during the Open Cup, the Kickers have set several franchise records, as well as a Professional Era U.S. Open Cup record for most goals (12) during the 8-4 rout over the Ocean City Barons in 2005 and Kickers midfielder David Bulow is the tournament’s all-time leading scorer with 14 goals.
Tournament Format and Match Dates:
Date: April 28
Number of Games: 2
Date: May 7
One NPSL team will take on the US Club Soccer representative, while a second NPSL team faces the USSSA representative.
Number of Games: 18
Date: May 14
Two winners from Play-In Round join remaining 30 Adult Council category teams and four USL PRO teams (Dayton Dutch Lions, Pittsburgh Riverhounds and expansion sides Phoenix FC Wolves and VSI Tampa Bay FC).
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 21
Eighteen (18) winners from First Round join remaining eight USL PRO clubs and six NASL teams.
Number of Games: 16
Date: May 28
Sixteen (16) winners from Second Round are paired against 16 MLS sides.
Number of Games: 8
Date: June 12
Sixteen (16) winners from Third Round face each other.
Date: June 26
Fourth Round winners face each other.
Date: Aug. 7 or 21
Quarterfinal winners face each other.
Date: Oct. 1 or 2
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.