HISTORY OF THE U.S. OPEN CUP (Lamar Hunt Cup)
As the oldest, annual team tournament in U.S. sports history, the U.S. Open Cup dates back to 1914 when the Brooklyn Field Club won the first national title by defeating the Brooklyn Celtics in Pawtucket, R.I. First instituted as the National Challenge Cup under the aegis of the United States Football Association, it was conceived as a competition open to all players (amateur and professional) and based upon England's Football Association Cup format.
During the Open Cup's early years, teams sponsored by industry in the East's urban centers dominated the competition. Bethlehem Steel (Pa.) won four Open Cup titles between 1915 and 1919, while Fall River F.C. (Mass.) won five national crowns between 1917 and 1931, tying Bethlehem Steel (a winner also in 1926) and Maccabees S.C. of Los Angeles (1973, 1975, 1977, 1978 and 1981) as the tournament's only five-
While teams sponsored by industries in the East's urban centers dominated the Men's Open and Amateur Cups until the 1950s, the teams from the West and Midwest have flexed their muscles in the later years. In fact, California alone has garnered the lion's share of success, winning 10 titles since 1973. Missouri, Illinois and Florida have also appeared regularly on the winner's list.
Although it is now a complete "knock-
Despite the prominence of the North American Soccer League from 1967 to 1984, NASL teams rarely showed the inclination to enter the U.S. Open Cup competition. In fact, until the emergence of Major League Soccer, full professional teams were almost non-
Due to increased sponsorship and greater media attention, the Open Cup is now beginning to enjoy a prominence equal to its importance as America's "open" soccer championship.