Record Number of Teams Will Compete in Oldest Cup Competition in U.S. Soccer;
First Round of Tournament Set For May 11; Final to Take Place Sept. 21
CHICAGO (Feb. 5, 2016) - Entering its 103rd year of competition, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is set to kick off the 2016 tournament on May 11 and will feature a tiered-bracket and single-game knockout format, with a record number of teams participating.
As in 2015, teams will be paired geographically from the First Round through the Fourth Round. After the Fourth Round, a geographically-based random draw will take place to determine the Round of 16 matchups and set a fixed bracket to the Final, scheduled for Sept. 21.
This year's U.S. Open Cup features 92 teams, a record in the tournament's modern era (1995 to present). Berths for teams from the Open Division, which includes clubs from all leagues other than Division I, II and III outdoor professional leagues, have expanded from the 36 announced last September to a modern era-record 48 as a result of the number of First Round places available after slotting Division I, II and III teams into later rounds.
The Third Qualifying Round, which was set to take place April 2-3, is now eliminated due to the expansion of berths for Open Division sides. Teams from local qualifying have been awarded six new slots, allowing all 14 clubs still alive in this qualifying track to be placed directly into the First Round.
Additionally, four new berths have been awarded to the Premier Development League (PDL), a nationwide amateur league, giving it 19 total teams in the competition, while the National Premier Soccer League (NPSL), another nationwide amateur league, has been awarded two additional slots to reach 15 participating teams.