Get ready for Gold Cup 2013!
The excitement around the region is palpable, isn't it?
An event that should take place every four years is a biennial tournament in our little corner of the world, and it looks like it is going to stay that way for a while. In a few years, it will be the only Regional championship staged as such; even the always entertaining African Cup of nations is switching to the quadrennial model in 2017.
So if CONCACAF is going to stick to the every two year format, may I present a couple of tweaks that might make the the second event in a World Cup cycle a little more exciting and competitive.
#1 - Make it a U tournament. It can be a U23, U21... whatever. but since this in an official tournament in the middle of World Cup qualifying, and more and more of the region's players are playing abroad, the relationship between club and confederation has to be strained with this extra official tournament. A U tournament would give players international exposure that they otherwise would not get. Especially, if the next proposal is adopted.
#2. - Play the three first round games at home, on the road, and a neutral site. I know that staging the event in the US makes the most sense economically for this tournament, but it's time CONCACAF put competition ahead of profit motive. While I agree that it may not be feasible to stage the whole tournament elsewhere in the region, but there is no reason why the other countries member's cannot stage at least some games. We all know how hard it is to win away games, so the young players would gain crucial experience playing in hostile territory.
#3 - Play the neutral game and the knockouts in a chosen host country. Playing a whole tournament might be too much to ask for some countries, but half a tournament is not. Three stadiums is all a country would need to stage this portion of the event. This way, the tournament can be fairly rotated around the region.
That's it. Those three changes would make the 2nd Gold Cup a lot more interesting, competitive, and exciting for both the teams and the fans.