LA Galaxy II midfielder Ulysses Llanez Jr. led the U.S. U19 National Team to the title this week at the 2018 U.S. Soccer U-20 Men's Invitational. | Photo courtesy LA Galaxy II
MIAMI – Concacaf announced on Thursday the format and schedule for the 2018 Concacaf Men’s U20 Championship, with the United States and Canada learning the potential path to the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup that will be held in Poland next May.
The tournament will be held at IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida as 34 teams convene for a three-week tournament that runs from November 1-21 at the world-class facilities.
The United States is the defending champion, with the side that included nine players with USL experience having claimed victory in Costa Rica last year. Canada also included a strong contingent of USL players in its squad at the last edition, and both countries should do so again this year with current U.S. Youth National Team players Andrew Carleton (ATL UTD 2), Ulysses Llanez (LA Galaxy II) and Sam Vines (Charlotte Independence) among those competing in the league this season.
The United States was drawn with Trinidad & Tobago, Puerto Rico, Suriname, St. Vincent & the Grenadines and the U.S. Virgin Islands in Group A for the tournament, while Canada was drawn with Panama, St. Kitts & Nevis, Guadaloupe, Dominica and Martinique in Group D. The teams will alternate gamedays, with the U.S. kicking off its campaign against Puerto Rico on Thursday, November 1 and Canada opening against Dominica on Friday, November 2.
The six group winners will advance to the second stage, with the two top teams in two three-team groups advancing to the 2019 FIFA U20 World Cup. The top two teams in the second phase will also meet for the championship on Wednesday, November 21 to conclude the tournament.
2018 CONCACAF U-20 Championship Groups
IMG Academy, Bradenton, Fla.
November 1-21, 2018
Group A: United States, 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