CHICAGO (Feb. 12, 2015) – The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) today announced that the 2015 CONCACAF Men’s Olympic Qualifying Championship will be played in the United States from Oct. 1-13.
The tournament will feature eight nations divided into two groups of four, with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play advancing to the semifinals. The countries that advance to the final will earn an automatic berth to the Olympic Football Tournament Rio 2016, while the third-place finisher will advance to a playoff against Colombia for one additional spot.
Host venues and ticketing information for the competition will be announced at a later date.
“The Olympic Qualifying Championship provides an ideal stage for CONCACAF nations to demonstrate the bright future the Confederation holds on the field,” said CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb. “We look forward to some great soccer as the competing nations strive to match our historic Olympic performances three years ago in England from Honduras, and of course Mexico, the 2012 Olympic Champion.”
The Olympic Qualifying Championship kicks off Oct. 1, with group play continuing through Oct. 7. The final match day for both groups, as well as the semifinal date, third-place match and the final, all fall within the FIFA match date window scheduled for Oct. 5-13, meaning all nations will be able to call on their top players worldwide for the decisive phase of the championship.
The qualifying tournament will include host USA, as well as North American automatic qualifiers Canada and Mexico. Those three countries will be joined by three nations from the Central American region and two from the Caribbean, with qualifiers in those regions to be disputed in coming months.
“We are looking forward to hosting the Olympic Qualifying Championship and showcasing the quality of soccer in the region,” said U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati. “The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes from across North, Central America and the Caribbean compete for the opportunity to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games.”
The final tournament schedule and kickoff times will be set following the qualifying tournaments in Central America and the Caribbean.
The United States also hosted the previous CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying Championship, in 2012, when matches were hosted in Kansas City, Los Angeles and Nashville.