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How old is the US Open Cup? Putting one of soccer's longest-running tournaments into historical context

The US Open Cup is old. One hundred and two years old, to be exact.

But how do you put a number like that in context? With a little help from the history department at MLSsoccer.com, of course. Here are some sporting, historical and cultural factoids to help put the age of the country's longest-running soccer tournament – and one of the oldest still-running soccer competitions in the world – in a different light.

1. The US Open Cup predates the FIFA World Cup by 14 years! By the time USMNT sailed to a semifinal finish in Uruguay, Bethlehem Steel had won all five of its record-setting USOC titles.

The Steel didn’t send any players to the World Cup. But 1930 winners Fall River Marksmen, fresh off the third of their four total wins, would send a pair of legendary players from the olden days of American soccer to help the USMNT (pictured below) to what is still their best World Cup finish. They were Bert Patenaude (scorer of the first hat trick in World Cup history) and Billy Gonsalves.

2. The US Open Cup predates the National Hockey League (founded 1917), National Football League (1920) and National Basketball Association (1946).

3. At the time of the 1914 USOC final, the most successful teams in today’s top European leagues were: Aston Villa (England, six titles--pictured below in the 1905 FA Cup final), Genoa (Italy, six titles) and VfB Leipzig (Germany, three titles). Spain would not have a national soccer league for another 15 years, although its Copa del Rey is one of the few national cup competitions that predates the USOC, having started in 1902.

4. Two months after Brooklyn Field Club topped Brooklyn Celtic in the inaugural final, baseball legend Babe Ruth made his Major League Baseball debut for the Boston Red Sox.

5. Not only does the US Open Cup predate the World Cup, it is two years older than the Copa América – the longest-running international continental soccer competition out there.

6. When the US Open Cup was first played, the Ottoman Empire and Austria-Hungary still existed, Germany still had a Kaiser and Russia still had a czar. World War I would start two months after the first final. This was the political situation in Europe at the time of the first USOC final:

7. Iconic silent film star Charlie Chaplin’s first movie, Making a Living, was released on February 2, 1914, two months after the first US Open Cup game was played, and three and a half months before the first final.

8. You wouldn’t have been able to listen to the first few US Open Cup finals on the radio. The first live sports broadcast via that medium took place in 1921. The first live sporting event would not be televised until 1939.

9. Here are some notable births from the same year as the first US Open Cup final:

  • Legendary heavyweight boxer Joe Louis
  • Academy Award winning actor Sir Alec Guinness (Bridge on the River Kwai, Lawrence of Arabia, original Star Wars trilogy)
  • Jonas Salk, inventor of the polio vaccine

10. Nearly three months to the day after Brooklyn Field Club captured the inaugural Dewar Cup, the Panama Canal opened, finally connecting the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.