Due to the continuing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic across the USA, which has impacted travel, limited or eliminated fans in the stands at games, and necessitated strict testing protocols, U.S. Soccer’s Open Cup Committee has been forced to cancel the 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.
The Committee also cancelled 2021 Open Division qualifying, which was to be held this fall for teams from local amateur leagues looking to advance to next year’s tournament. The 38 Open Division teams from the Local Qualifying track and eligible National Leagues (National Premier Soccer League, USL League Two) who had qualified for the 2020 competition and who maintain Open Cup eligibility through next year will automatically be invited for 2021.
“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,” said Open Cup Commissioner Paul Marstaller. “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.”
The 2020 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup was originally scheduled for eight rounds, opening on March 24 and concluding with the Final on Sept. 22 or 23. The reallocation of the 2021 Scotiabank Concacaf Champions League berth awarded to the Open Cup champion will be determined in the future.
The cancelation of the tournament snaps a 106-consecutive-year run of crowning a national champion. The streak was the second-longest in soccer for national cup competitions worldwide, trailing only the Irish Cup in Northern Ireland.
The Open Cup previously faced an interruption early in its existence during the pandemic of 1918-1920 when the tournament was known as the National Challenge Cup. During this period, the Open Cup ultimately played through, with record five-time champion Bethlehem Steel winning its third and fourth titles in the spring of 1918 and 1919, respectively, while Saint Louis club Ben Miller FC won in the spring of 1920.