The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) today announced the details for the new 2018 Concacaf Under-20 Championship. The redesigned, centralized thirty-four-member association competition will be the largest Concacaf Under-20 tournament ever.
The men’s youth championship, to be hosted at the world-renowned IMG Academy campus in Bradenton, Florida, will take place November 1-21, 2018. These dates include the November FIFA match window, meaning teams will be able to compete with their best players for the Confederation’s title.
“The record response from the participating member associations in the centralized and expanded Concacaf Under-20 tournament is a testament to their belief that consistent access to quality competition truly drives development and growth of the game in our region” said Concacaf General Secretary Philippe Moggio. “We are very excited to showcase our region’s next generation of stars at the IMG Academy.”
“We are pleased that Concacaf has once again selected our campus as host to one of its premier events,” said IMG Academy Co-Managing Director Chip McCarthy. “We pride ourselves on providing a tremendous platform for competition at the highest level and look forward to hosting some of the region’s top talent here in Bradenton.”
Unlike the previous format, which included regional qualifiers in the Caribbean and Central America and one final Championship, the new centralized competition ensures that all teams have the opportunity to play more top-level football matches in a single location. Over the course of twenty-three-days, players, coaches, team administrators and referees will additionally have access to Concacaf development programs.
The competition will be composed of three rounds. For the first-round group phase, the thirty-four participating teams will be divided into six groups. After round robin play, the six group winners will advance to the qualification stage. For the qualification stage, the six remaining teams will be separated in two groups of three. After round robin play, the two group winners plus the second-place finishers will qualify for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. Additionally, the two groups winners will advance to the tournament’s final to determine the regional champion.
The complete list of participating associations, as well as the first-round match schedule will be announced at a later date.
In the previous edition of the Concacaf Under-20 Championship played in Costa Rica in 2017, the United States won its first ever title at this level, with a 5-3 win in penalties, over Honduras in the final.