Whats a CONCACAF?

Why you should care about soccer

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Lucas Koprowski, Sports Editor

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With the CONCACAF Champions League taking a break until September 15, I thought that I would address the obvious: in the United States, people don’t really care about the tournament and generally don’t watch soccer. I bet most of you don’t even know what a CONCACAF is, let alone that it is related to soccer. Although soccer looks like a slower version of hockey on the outside, it has a very rich culture on the inside that should draw more people’s attention in the US. Because of that, I thought that I would educate our readers of the Courier  about what this CONCACAF thing is, and why you should care about the world’s most popular sport.

Let’s start off with our local region. The CONCACAF is the Confederation of North, Central American, and Caribbean Association of Football. They are in charge of two yearly tournaments for the region: the Gold Cup and the Champions League.

The Gold Cup is a tournament between nations in the region of the CONCACAF. Whichever team wins the tournament will earn a spot in the playoffs for participation in FIFA’s precursor tournament to the World Cup and the Confederations Cup. This tournament happens every four years, and it is always the year before the World Cup.

The Champions League is a tournament where the top four teams from the 12 most prominent soccer leagues across the region are put into a tournament to determine what club will represent them in the FIFA Club World Cup. The Club World Cup is also a yearly tournament.

There are five other regions across the world, all with their own organizations. Each one of these also holds a Champions League and a Gold Cup. The two strongest regions are the Union of European Football Association, UEFA, and the South American Football Confederation, the CONMEBOL.

These two regions are always in intense competition; whether it be in the World Cup, such as in 2014 when Argentina lost to Germany in the finals, or in last year’s Club World Cup, where Real Madrid, a Spanish team, surmounted the Argentinian San Lorenzo in those finals. Although South America doesn’t seem to be any challenge to the Europeans from examining those two outcomes, the most successful team in all of FIFA’s national tournaments is Brazil. The most successful club in the FIFA Club World Cup is a tie between the Brazilian Corinthians and the Spanish team FC Barcelona.

Even though those two regions are the powerhouses of the world of soccer, the other regions, including our own, are still fun to watch. Even just watching Major League Soccer, the MLS, and not caring about international events, like the CONCACAF tournaments, is still fun.

Although the MLS has been falling behind most premiere European leagues, such as the Barclays and La Liga, the league has been slowly increasing in skill level over the past couple of years. Just this year, the league added two new teams; Orlando City SC and New York City FC. New York City FC, or NYCFC, is connected to the number one team in the Barclays, Manchester City. This team puts players that are either too young or too old in this club to either act like a catalyst for up-and-coming careers or to act as a retirement home. This has been happening independently with other players over the past couple of years as well, such as Didier Drogba, an African player that was cut from Chelsea, a team in the Barclays, and signed with the Montreal Impact earlier this year.

Now that you have all of this information, why should you care about soccer? You should decide that for yourself. The best reason to start watching soccer is because you are interested. If you are not interested after learning all of this, that’s OK. If you are, watch a match and see if you enjoy the sport. If you do not enjoy it, that’s fine.

If you do, you’re welcome.

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