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U.S. Soccer denies MLS request for Next PRO teams in U.S. Open

Houston Dynamo Houston Dynamo win 2023 U.S. Open Cup - Getty Images

U.S. Soccer announced on Wednesday that it has rejected Major League Soccer's request to field Next PRO youth teams in the 2024 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in place of regular squads.

The U.S. Open Cup is the country's longest-running national competition that features teams from professional leagues sanctioned by the United States Soccer Federation including MLS, the USL Championship and USL League One, as well as qualified amateur sides.

Citing fixture congestion with the expanded Concacaf Champions Cup and Leagues Cup, MLS announced a plan on Friday to send its clubs' youth teams to the tournament for 2024.

"After thoughtful consideration, we have informed MLS that the U.S. Soccer staff recommendation, which was adopted by the Pro League Taskforce, is that the request be denied," a statement read. "As we move forward, we will continue our review of the Open
Cup to ensure it aligns with the U.S. Soccer strategic pillars. We remain committed to addressing the needs and concerns of all of our members, including MLS, and other stakeholders to enhance and improve the U.S. Open Cup."

Dates for the 2024 edition of the 105-year-old tournament have yet to be announced. The Houston Dynamo won the title in 2023, defeating Inter Miami 2-1 in the final.