U.S. Soccer and MLS Fighting Over U.S. Open Cup

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Major League Soccer is not happy with U.S. Soccer, the country’s leading international competition organization.

The disagreement stems from the U.S. Open Cup, a tournament organized by U.S. Soccer.

The Cup is meant to replicate events like the FA Cup in English soccer, where MLS teams compete against teams from lower divisions of domestic soccer.

Unlike the FA Cup though, the U.S. Open has been almost entirely ignored by American soccer fans.

MLS commissioner Don Garber though, doesn’t blame them.

At a U.S. Soccer board meeting Friday, Garber went off on the event, calling it a “poor reflection” of what they want the game to be.

“They are not games that we would want our product to be shown to a large audience,” Garber said. “So frankly I’m not all that disappointed that the audience is small.”


LOS ANGELES, CA – NOVEMBER 05: Commissioner of Major League Soccer Don Garber attends the match between Philadelphia Union and Los Angeles FC as part of the MLS Cup Final 2022 at Banc of California Stadium on November 5, 2022 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Omar Vega/Getty Images)

Soccer In Turmoil

After a mostly successful World Cup campaign, the domestic organization has experienced a significant amount of drama.

First, Coach Gregg Berhalter was embroiled in a blackmail controversy. Then, sporting director Earnie Stewart resigned to pursue a position in Europe.


Now the two most important sporting organizations in the sport are apparently at odds.

Garber continued to disparage the cup and its standing in the US.

“From our perspective, it is a very poor reflection on what it is we’re trying to do with soccer at the highest level. The games are hard to find — I’m telling you as an actual viewer,” he explained.

“The reaction from our ownership, from our team presidents, and even our fans in terms of even being able to find the games, the quality of the games. Some of the games that we’ve been playing in are on subpar fields.”

He has a point. The U.S. Open is not an event virtually any soccer fan takes seriously. And it’s unlikely it will be, unless significant investment is made not only from the top, but from the bottom.

Domestic soccer can already be a tough sell, given the significantly lower competition level than European leagues.

Combine that with poor quality fields, support and even less competitive teams and you have a poorly run, poorly viewed event.

U.S. Soccer currently has a whole host of other issues and priorities, and it’s clear MLS isn’t thrilled.

After these brutally honest remarks, it’ll be fascinating to see if this relationship can be repaired.

Written by Ian Miller

Ian Miller is a former award watching high school actor, author, and long suffering Dodgers fan. He spends most of his time golfing, traveling, reading about World War I history, and trying to get the remote back from his dog. Follow him on Twitter @ianmSC

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