With 2020 around the corner and no official Concacaf competition on the Men’s National Team schedule that year, U.S. Soccer decided to take the initiative to propose a new tournament that would bring together teams from across the Americas.
On Tuesday, U.S. Soccer sent letters of invitation to CONMEBOL’s 10 Member Associations for a tournament to be held in the United States during the summer of 2020 with 6 Concacaf nations, including the United States.
“We want to demonstrate leadership in growing the game at home and across the region,” U.S. Soccer President Carlos Cordeiro said of the initiative taken by the Federation to jumpstart the organization of the competition.
“This opportunity is too good to pass up – for the teams, for the players, for the fans, and for everyone involved. A world-class tournament next summer will inspire our grassroots players and drive increased interest in the game, providing us with resources to continue on our path towards becoming the preeminent sport in the U.S.”
The proposal has the support and endorsement of Concacaf, which indicated that they “view this opportunity positively” and that it “complements [their] vision to continue providing opportunities for [their] Member Associations to play competitive football at the highest level.”
Eye-Popping Financial Guarantees
The financial incentives are massive and would be the largest total compensation ever offered for a competition in the hemisphere. Each participant country is guaranteed $4 million, with a $225,000 bonus per point earned and a $5 million purse for winning. The tournament champion could walk away with a total of $11.25 million, and each Confederation is guaranteed $50 million for agreeing to participate. Altogether, the overall compensation paid out to all parties would come in just under $200 million.
With the revenue from the tournament, U.S. Soccer will also take the opportunity to create its 2026 Legacy Fund with the purpose of continuing to grow the game in the Concacaf region in the as we approach the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
“We are just as committed to growing the game across Concacaf as we are at home,” said Cordeiro. “When U.S. Soccer is successful, we want to share that success with our neighbors, both in sporting and financial terms.”
U.S. Soccer will administer the 2026 Legacy Fund in the lead-up and aftermath of the 2026 World Cup in order to fund development initiatives in North and Central America, as well as the Caribbean.
A Tournament Will Be Played
U.S. Soccer knows that with the summer of 2020 just over a year away, time is of the essence if a tournament of this stature with CONMEBOL and Concacaf is going to happen, especially since any competition taking place in the United States requires the full backing and involvement of U.S. Soccer and Concacaf. In any case, Cordeiro was clear that U.S. Soccer is intent on hosting a tournament in 2020, even if CONMEBOL is not involved.
“We will find a way to provide top competition for our National Team,” said Cordeiro. “Our hope is that our South American counterparts will want to join us, but, in the case that they don’t, we’re prepared to rethink the format and invite other teams to participate. With the 2026 World Cup on the horizon, many national teams from around the world have expressed interest in experiencing a world-class event in our stadiums.”
Incredible Opportunity for Fans
Finally, Cordeiro sees the potential tournament as an invaluable opportunity not just for players, but for fans across North and South America.
“In the end, putting this tournament together makes a lot of sense,” said Cordeiro. “It offers our players the opportunity to play opposition of the highest level, whilst at the same time our fans can enjoy a world-class event.”
The initial reaction to the news of the proposed tournament was overwhelmingly positive, and supporters shared their excitement on social media.
Hey @AmericanOutlaws - this would be soooooo awesome!!! https://t.co/UNZZneAulJ— AO St. Petersburg (@AOStPete) February 26, 2019
This would probably be more fun than the Euros. https://t.co/UfSkKEj6rY— David Dawson (@thedaviddawson) February 26, 2019