CHICAGO (Sept. 13, 2018) – The U.S. Under-20 Men’s National Team has been drawn with Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines and U.S. Virgin Islands into Group A of the 2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship. The draw occurred Thursday morning on at the Concacaf headquarters in Miami, Fla., with the qualifying tournament for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup set to take place from Nov. 1-21, at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida.
“Looking forward to once again have the opportunity to provide another important experience to the next generation of players,” U.S. U-20 MNT head coach Tab Ramos said. “This Concacaf U-20 Championship will be different and more challenging than any other we have had in the past but we are prepared and ready.”
The U.S. opens the group stage against Puerto Rico (Nov. 1), followed by U.S. Virgin Islands (Nov. 3), Trinidad & Tobago (Nov. 5) and Saint Vincent and the Grenadines (Nov. 7) before finishing up against Suriname (Nov. 9).
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The Concacaf U-20 Championship format features four groups of six teams and two group of five teams. The 2018 tournament marks Concacaf’s largest Under-20 World Cup qualifying tournament ever, with 34 Under-20 member associations participating.
Based on the Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Ranking, the top six ranked teams were seeded into position one of each group, while the remaining 28 teams were distributed in five pots, also based on ranking:
Seeded Teams (group and position)
United States (A1), Mexico (B1), Honduras (C1), Panama (D1) Costa Rica (E1) and El Salvador (F1)
Remaining Teams (grouped by Concacaf Men’s Under-20 Ranking)
Pot 1: Cuba, Guatemala, Trinidad & Tobago, Haiti, Canada and Jamaica
Pot 2: Antigua and Barbuda, Bermuda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Curacao, Aruba and Suriname
Pot 3: Nicaragua, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, Guadeloupe, St. Lucia and Guyana
Pot 4: Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Grenada, Cayman Islands, Barbados, Belize and Dominica
Pot 5: U.S. Virgin Islands, Martinique, Sint Maarten and Saint Martin
Due to the uneven number of Under-20 member associations (34), as the lowest of the top six seeded teams, El Salvador’s Group F and Costa Rica’s Group E did not have a sixth team from Pot 5 drawn into its group. This results in only four games of first-round group play for all teams in Group E and F, instead of five games to be played by each team in groups A-D.
Following group play, the top team in each of the six groups will advance to the qualification stage, where they will be divided into two groups of three. After a second edition of round-robin play, the two group winners plus the second-place finishers will qualify for the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. Additionally, the two groups winners will advance to the tournament’s final to determine the regional champion.
2018 Concacaf U-20 Championship – USA Schedule:
Thursday, Nov. 1 – USA vs. Puerto Rico – 7:30 p.m. ET
Saturday, Nov. 3 – USA vs. U.S. Virgin Islands – 7:45 p.m. ET
Monday, Nov. 5 – USA vs. Trinidad & Tobago – 7:45 p.m. ET
Wednesday, Nov. 7 – USA vs. Saint Vincent and the Grenadines – 7:45 p.m. ET
Friday, Nov. 9 – USA vs. Suriname – 5:30 p.m. ET
2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Groups:
Group A: USA, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, Puerto Rico, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, U.S. Virgin Islands
Group B: Mexico, Jamaica, Aruba, Nicaragua, Grenada, Saint Martin
Group C: Honduras, Cuba, Antigua and Barbuda, Dominican Republic, Belize, Sint Maarten
Group D: Panama, Canada, St. Kitts and Nevis, Guadeloupe, Dominica, Martinique
Group E: Costa Rica, Haiti, Bermuda, St. Lucia, Barbados
Group F: El Salvador, Guatemala, Curacao, Guyana, Cayman Islands
The USA returns to the confederation tournament as defending champions after capturing its first title at the U-20 level in March of 2017, defeating Honduras via penalty kicks in the final. The team went on to reach the quarterfinals of the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup in Korea Republic, where it lost to eventual tournament runners-up Venezuela 2-1 in extra time after finishing 0-0 in regulation. The USA’s run to the quarterfinals started with a top place finish in Group F after drawing Ecuador (3-3) and Saudi Arabia (1-1) and defeating Senegal (1-0). In the Round of 16, the USA dominated New Zealand 6-0 to secure its spot in the quarterfinals.
The U.S. has qualified for 15 FIFA World Youth Championships/FIFA U-20 World Cups. The USA’s best World Cup finish was a fourth-place performance at the 1989 FIFA World Youth Championship in Saudi Arabia.