MIAMI – Concacaf Friday announced the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Fla. will host its Under-17 men’s championship March through May.
The redesigned competition will be the largest Concacaf Under-17 tournament ever as 35 member associations will compete.
The men’s World Cup qualifying competition will be disputed in three rounds. The first-round qualifiers will take place March 16-24 and April 1-9, while the final championship – group stage and knockout stage, will take place May 1-16.
“We are very excited to announce the expansion and redesign of the 2019 Concacaf Under-17 Championship,” Concacaf general secretary Philippe Moggio said. “This new format will fuel the growth of football in the region, by allowing all our members to compete at a higher level, while maximizing the opportunities for young players to gain valuable experience on and off the field.”
Unlike the previous format, which included regional qualifiers in the Caribbean and Central America and one final Championship, the new centralized competition will ensure that all participating teams have an opportunity to play more top-level football matches in a single location.
The competition will kick off March 16, with the qualifiers. For this istage, the lowest-ranked 19 teams, based on the Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Ranking as of May 2017, will be divided into four groups. After round-robin play, the top finisher in each group will advance to the knockout stage of the final competition.
The final championship will begin with a group stage, in which the top-ranked 16 participating teams, based on the Concacaf Men’s Under-17 Ranking as of May 2017, will be divided into four groups. After round-robin play, the top three finishers in each of the groups will join the winners of Groups A, B, C and D from the qualifiers in the round of 16.
The knockout stage of the competition – round of 16, quarterfinals, semifinals and final – will be played in its entirety in a single match elimination format, with the semifinalists automatically qualifying for the 2019 FIFA U-17 World Cup Peru.
The participating member associations:
Anguilla, Antigua & Barbuda, Aruba, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Bermuda, Bonaire, Canada, Cayman Islands, Costa Rica, Curaçao, Dominica, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Grenada, Guadeloupe, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Martinique, Mexico, Montserrat, Nicaragua, Panama, Puerto Rico, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Martin, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Suriname, Trinidad & Tobago, United States and US Virgin Islands.
An official draw to sort the participating teams into the groups for the qualifying stage and group stage of the final competition will take place Tuesday at the Concacaf Headquarters in Miami Tuesday at 11 a.m ET.
Fans will be able to follow all the action through Concacaf.com.
In the previous edition of the Concacaf Men’s U-17 Championship played in Panama in 2017, Mexico won its third straight title and seventh overall, with a 5-4 penalty shootout win over the United States in the final.