QUESTION: As a Chicago Fire supporter, how often do you use TheCup.us, formerly known as USOpenCup.com?
If you’ve never been there, you’re missing out on the best resource, (yes better than U.S. Soccer’s own website) on the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup. It’s been the best thanks in part to the work of my longtime friend Josh Hakala and his dedicated group of soccer scribes, web gurus and other folks that maintain the site on a volunteer, “for the love of the tournament” basis.
DONATE: Help improve TheCup.us
In an effort to continue to be a great resource for one of the world’s oldest soccer tournaments, TheCup.us is running a fundraising push in order to make cutting edge improvements to the site.
The detailed plans include:"The fundraising effort will not only help expand our coverage going forward to help raise the profile of this great tournament, but it will help us research and preserve the century-long history of the competition which can fade away if nothing is done about it,” said Hakala.
* An improved layout/design to make information easier to find.
* Creating a database for all the statistics to make historical information easier to track down for fans and media members alike (Anyone that’s seen the TrueCar Player Registry can get behind this).
* Donations will be used to help fund historical research so that we can continue to gather information to help the legacy of this tournament available to the public for the next 100 years.
* Funding the collection and editing of video of past Open Cup games to give fans more of a visual history of the competition.
* Live coverage and stats for every game
* Creation of a mobile app for TheCup.us to follow and keep up with the latest news about the tournament from anywhere.
As Hakala describes it, because of the Fire’s historical success in the Open Cup, the site and the club have often naturally intertwined.|
"The Fire were actually part of the earliest days of the site,” he said. “Back in 2003 when I didn't have three kids, I broadcasted games online and one of the first teams to let me call their games was the Fire. I drove from Lansing, Michigan to Milwaukee to do the team’s4-1 win against Milwaukee Wave United."
That match was the first in the Fire’s run to their eventual third of an MLS-record four U.S. Open Cup titles. The club stands one championship away from tying Bethlehem Steel and Maccabi Los Angeles for the most titles in the competition’s history.
“With the Chicago Fire on the verge of making history with another title or two, it's important to recognize the teams of the past to appreciate the achievements of today."
So not to be all NPR seasonal fundraising drive on you but again, as a supporter of the MLS club with the most U.S. Open Cup titles, I’d call on Fire fans to contribute what you can to this very valuable resource.
Don’t have the funds to do it? Josh and his crew could also use support in the following areas:
SHARE: The easiest way to contribute is just to spread the word about this campaign, about TheCup.US and most of all, the tournament itself. Indiegogo has share tools you can use, and there's always the 'old fashioned' way by posting to your favorite social media sites.
AD SALES: Those that work on the site are journalists and website managers and not salesmen, so they need someone who speaks the language to attract advertisers who would find value in a site that attracts die-hard soccer fans from all over the country.
WRITING: If you're passionate about the US Open Cup and have some solid writing skills, then drop them a line. TheCup.us team is looking for people to cover games, do feature stories, or help with historical articles.
RESEARCH: Do you love digging in archives looking for historical info? You've come to the right place then. In addition to looking through various publication archives (or coordinating with local libraries to have them help with it), a lot of their research involves tracking down players/coaches/administrators to find some of this info.
WEBSITE WORK: TheCup.us is a Wordpress-based website, and if you have some website or graphics skills, then they could use your help as well.
Anyone interested in contributing to the site in any of the areas listed above, use this email form: http://www.thecup.us/contact-us/