Tropics Outdoor Team Qualify for 2019 U.S. Open Cup

by Andrew Ross

LAKELAND, Fla – The Lakeland Tropics have for the second straight year secured an invitation to the prestigious Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. The Tropics are only one of 84 teams in the country to earn a berth, and one of only 10 teams in USL League Two (previously known as the Premier Development League) to head the 2019 Cup.

“We are honored to once again be included in this great event,” Tropics CEO Dr. Panos Iakovidis said. “We have worked very hard to put a team on the field that Lakeland and Polk County can be proud of, and being part of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup for a second straight year is a reward for our team and fans who have supported our efforts.” The Tropics will learn their first round matchup on April 10 when the tournament's schedule is released. However, Lakeland knows it will play one of two dates when the 2019 tournament kicks off May 7-8 with 19 first round games. In all, this year's event features a total of 84 teams from all levels, culminating in August with America’s soccer champion lifting the Open Cup trophy after eight rounds of single-elimination play. 

The Tropics finished third in USL League Two's Southern Division with a 9-2-3 record. The Villages SC, one of the Tropics main rivals, is the only other Florida based PDL team to get a Cup invite, and also finished at 9-2-3 in 2018. Last spring, in their inaugural U.S. Open Cup appearance, Lakeland traveled to Texas to take on the Midland-Odessa Sockers of the National Premier Soccer League, falling 3-0. The Houston Dynamo is the defending Open Cup champion, having earned the club's first tournament title thanks to a 3-0 victory against the Philadelphia Union on Sept. 26, 2018, at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. 

In its 106th year, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup – U.S. Soccer's National Championship – has crowned a champion annually since 1914. The history-filled tournament is conducted on a single-game, knockout basis and open to all professional and amateur teams affiliated with U.S. Soccer. In 1999, the competition was renamed to honor United States soccer pioneer Lamar Hunt.

For more information, visit www.ussoccer.com which is the official website of the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. Follow the Open Cup on Twitter and Instagram @OpenCup and Facebook @OfficialOpenCup. The Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup is the oldest ongoing national soccer competition in the United States and the world's third-longest continuously-running open soccer tournament.