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A little less “David” today in Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup

Apr 11, 2013, 12:52 PM EDT

U.S. Open Cup logo

The Cup US web site reports troubling news today: Seems that two NPSL clubs have declined to participate in this year’s Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, citing the financial strain of America’s oldest cup competition.

In other words, we will get less of the very thing that makes domestic soccer geeks (I raise my hand high in the air at this point) love the Open Cup: little clubs getting their shot at the heavies of our domestic game. (Suggested motto: “U.S. Open Cup: still the game’s best-kept secret, after all these years!”)

NPSL is domestic soccer’s fourth tier. Heavily dependent on college players (in their off-season) and operating on shoestring budgets, hosting or traveling for Open Cup matches can be a strain.

That what the operators of the National Premier Soccer League’s Erie Admirals and AFC Cleveland have taken a pass on invitations into this year’s field.

It’s a particular shame seeing as this is the tournament’s 100th anniversary.

From the story at The Cup US (a wonderful, labor of love resource for all things U.S. Open Cup, by the way), this is from Erie owner John Moody:

We would love to take part in this great tournament … but there’s just too many unknowns for a club like ours.”

Doggone shame. It’s nobody’s fault in particular – just a shame. See the story linked above for great details on U.S. Soccer reimbursement ($8,000) just doesn’t cover the costs for these smaller clubs. (And, no, we can’t blame U.S. Soccer for this one. I know it’s the reflexive thing to do, and U.S. Soccer hasn’t always gotten it right on the U.S. Open Cup, but there’s only so much the federation can do in terms of underwriting a tournament that makes very little money.)

Early round play in this year’s 68-team tournament begins May 7.

  1. Scott Fenwick - Apr 11, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    Hey Steve,

    Thanks for devoting coverage to this. It would be a nice gesture for Don Garber and MLS to subsidize costs for teams like Erie Admirals and AFC Cleveland.

    Cheers,

    Scott

    • Steve Davis - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:25 PM

      It WOULD be nice, I suppose … but not sure that’s on the priority list for a league where no one makes money as it is! In all honesty, this is just “one of those things.” It is a shame, however.

  2. charliej11 - Apr 11, 2013 at 3:11 PM

    I wonder if the small teams like having MLS in the competition or would rather they didn’t enter teams ?

    I can see both sides. Chance to win versus, chance to play against the big boys.

    I am mixed myself, fun to watch Portland lose, and Seattle win so many, but also would be cool if left like it was for so many years.

  3. Dan - Apr 11, 2013 at 5:35 PM

    Ad then you see a club like Charleston Battery… Annually competing with MLS clubs in the USOC. It can be done, but it has to be done the right way, without question and not all clubs are managed as well as Battery.

  4. dfstell - Apr 11, 2013 at 8:49 PM

    I agree…..just one of those things. You can’t expect a team to lose money to go on the road and probably get beat.

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