CONCACAF announced Monday that the CONCACAF Gold Cup will expand to 16 countries for the 2019 edition and beyond.

The confederation also is exploring a pan-regional footprint for the 2019 Gold Cup, which would feature matches played outside the United States, including the possibility of matches in Central America and the Caribbean.

The qualifying process for the 16 teams that will participate in the 2019 Gold Cup will be revealed at the CONCACAF Nations League launch event in Miami Beach March 7.

“The expansion of the Gold Cup and the upcoming launch of the CONCACAF Nations League are key steps in delivering on the ONE CONCACAF Vision, to make the region’s most competitive football more accessible to more of our Confederation’s teams, players and fans,” CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said. “By widening access to these important tournaments for more of our Member Associations, we work towards our goal of ensuring that the football produced in the CONCACAF region is of the highest quality in the world.”

The biennial Gold Cup is the region’s top prize for national teams. For more than 25 years the compeititon has featured top quality stars and national teams from across North America, Central America and the Caribbean, as well as invited guests from South America, Asia and Africa.

In exploring taking tournament matches outside of North America, the 2019 edition would fulfill a long-term aspiration for Central American and Caribbean nations and fans of seeing the region’s championship held on their home grounds. The process and criteria for selection of host sites in the CONCACAF region, will be outlined by CONCACAF in the coming months.