CONCACAF Gold Cup Preview 2017
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The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football, better known as CONCACAF, announced on Dec. 19 the 14 cities listed to host the CONCACAF Gold Cup from July 7 to 26, 2017. Venues, group stage events, group assignments and game matches were released for already-qualified seeded nations such as the United States and Mexico.
The announcement was made simultaneously coast to coast by athletes, musicians and local dignitaries who represent each of the host venues. Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, rock band Kings of Leon and the mayors of several of the participating cities helped spread the word through social media. The tournament, known to draw large crowds and millions of television viewers, is a celebration of soccer, sportsmanship and culture. In an effort to allow more fans to participate in the thrill of tournament first- hand, CONCACAF has added four first-time hosts: Alamodome (San Antonio, Texas); FirstEnergy Stadium (Cleveland, Ohio); Levi’s Stadium (Santa Clara, Calif.); and Nissan Stadium (Nashville, Tenn.).
Returning to host the tournament in July are ten previous venues including Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, Pa. (2009, 2015); Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Calif. (1996, 2000); Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. (2011, 2013); and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif. (1991, 2002, 2011, 2013).
“We’re excited to bring the Gold Cup to new markets across the country. These cities have all proved ready and eager to host our region’s marquee soccer championship, and welcome world class international soccer next summer,” said CONCACAF General Secretary Philippe Moggio.
Currently, seven national teams out of the twelve have qualified for the tournament: Canada, Curacao, French Guiana, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico and the United States. While Canada, Mexico and the United States are automatic North American entrants, the four Caribbean teams had to secure semifinal places in the 2016/17 Scotiabank CFU Men’s Caribbean Cup.
The top four finishers from the Central American Cup—to be played in Panama from Jan. 13 to 22, 2017—will also qualify. The three best second-place finishers from the third round of Caribbean Cup play which include Haiti, Suriname and Trinidad and Tobago will also compete against each other to determine the final Gold Cup qualifier.
“As I fan of the Gold Cup, I am excited to watch these teams play this year,” said junior Charles Marone. “I definitely think the United States and Mexico will be top contenders as they usually are, but I also enjoy watching the Caribbean teams compete for a chance to win as well.”
The champion of the Gold Cup assures their team a spot in the next CONCACAF tournament, an opportunity to participate in the 2021 FIFA Confederations Cup, and continental bragging rights.