MLS pulls first teams from 2024 U.S. Open Cup

Major League Soccer announced late on Friday evening that their clubs will not participate in the 2024 U.S. Open Cup. Instead, their MLS NEXT Pro affiliates will participate in their place.

From the press release:

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Major League Soccer announced today that at its recent Board of Governors meeting its clubs voted to have MLS NEXT Pro teams represent the organization in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. MLS will coordinate with U.S. Soccer regarding participation in the tournament.

This decision will provide emerging professional players with additional opportunities for meaningful competition.  The move also benefits the MLS regular season by reducing schedule congestion, freeing up to six midweek match dates.

The inclusion of MLS NEXT Pro clubs in the Open Cup follows the involvement of dozens of MLS NEXT Pro players in the 2023 tournament, where they were called up to MLS first teams.

MLS remains committed to working with U.S. Soccer to evolve and elevate the Open Cup for everyone involved in the years ahead.

After choosing not to increase spending or roster sizes, MLS was clearly up against the wall to figure out how to balance their league schedule with Concacaf Champions League, as well as the newly-created Leagues Cup that will be played mid-season. So instead, they decide to bow out of the most historic competition in U.S. soccer, one that has been around since 1914.

For a league that is desperate to be perceived as authentic and deeply rooted, MLS consistently finds ways to erase its own traditions and turn away from others. It’s hard to know just how much this decision will impact the rest of the American soccer ecosystem, let alone how MLS can withdraw from the competition without impacting its Division I status, but it will have sizable ripple effects.

More information on how MLS NEXT Pro’s participation will work will be announced shortly.

Author: Ben Wrightis the Director of Soccer Content and a Senior MLS Contributor for Broadway Sports covering Nashville SC and the US National Team. Previously Ben was the editor and a founder of Speedway Soccer, where he has covered Nashville SC and their time in USL before journeying to Major League Soccer since 2018. Raised in Louisville, KY Ben grew up playing before a knee injury ended his competitive career. When he is not talking soccer he is probably producing music, drinking coffee or hanging out with his wife and kids. Mastodon

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