LOS ANGELES, California – If there was one word heard throughout Banc of California Stadium on Wednesday during the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup Draw, it was “growth”, specifically how much the Gold Cup as a tournament has grown leaps and bounds from its initial edition in 1991.
For Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, the fact that now 16 teams encompass the Confederation’s premier national team competition reflects the growth that has taken place within the Concacaf region.
“This Gold Cup is a statement on the growth of our Confederation,” said Montagliani n an exclusive interview with Concacaf.com.
“Just in a very short time not only have we expanded the tournament to 16 teams, based on the quality that a lot of our countries have shown in the last few years, but also we’re taking it outside of North America for the first time to Costa Rica and to Jamaica. Those are significant steps. It’s not a token thing, it’s real, you can feel it when you are in those countries, so for us it’s a massive sign of the progress we have made as a Confederation,” said Montagliani.
In particular, what has fueled the road to the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup is the Concacaf Nations League, beginning with Concacaf Nations League Qualifying last fall.
Montagliani could not be happier that his vision of bringing more top-level competition to all members has come to fruition.
“That was the whole basis of getting the Nations League up and running because I knew one of the biggest issues that we had in this Confederation was the lack of opportunity. A couple of the big countries would play 40 games in four years and everybody else would play single digits and that’s just not going to get you anywhere. The Nations League was a vehicle to provide that opportunity for everybody and it’s really delivered,” concluded Montagliani.