Philly Sports Live

2013 Gold Cup Might Actually Matter

US Soccer President Sunil Gulati appears to have buried the lead this morning during the ceremony at New York’s City Hall marking today’s 100th Anniversary of US Soccer.  As revealed in a comment to Ives Gallarcep, Gulati appears to have confirmed a long rumored change to the structure of CONCACAF’s signiture tournament, the Gold Cup.

This is big news.  If true, it has the potential to turn a largely meaningless 2013 edition of the tournament on its head.

The Gold Cup is held every two years, those immediately before and after the World Cup.  The winner of the tournament following the World Cup, most recently the 2011 edition, won by Mexico, qualifies for the Confederations Cup, playing against the champions of South America, Europe, Asia Africa & Oceania, as well as the host country.  The winner of the off year tournament, held in the midst of the Hex, receives nothing.  This situation has led to Hex competitors fielding younger or experimental teams in the off year tournament, as they focus on qualifying for the World Cup.

CONCACAF  has often been criticized for holding its regional championship every two years, instead of every four as other federations do, lending an air of unimportant and illegitimacy to the off year tournaments.  The Confederation has long maintained however that the extra tournament each cycle is necessary to provide funding for CONCACAF programs and federation operations in smaller countries.

The change, if official, would immediately lend more importance to the off year tournament, giving the winner a chance to qualify for the Confederations Cup, a vital opportunity to prepare for the World Cup.  It would also raise the level of competition in the Gold Cup, as Hex participants would have an inducement to send more of their top players.

Stick with Philly Sports live for continuing coverage of the 2013 Gold Cup, and the US Men’s National Team on the road to Rio.