Final rosters were announced this week for the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup, and American soccer fans should be looking forward to international soccer on home soil throughout July.
This year’s competition, the 13th iteration, will be hosted by the United States, with two games to be held in Canada. Twelve teams qualified for the competition – three from North America (United States, Canada, Mexico), five from Central America (Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Panama) and four from the Caribbean (Cuba, Haiti, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago).
The teams competing for this year’s title have been placed into three groups – the United States will face Panama, Haiti and Honduras in the group stage. The Americans’ first game will be against Honduras on July 7 at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, followed by a July 10 game versus Haiti in Foxborough, Massachusetts. There final group stage game is July 13, against Panama, at Sporting Park in Kansas City. The games will be broadcast by Fox and Univision in the United States.
Fourteen venues have been chosen, spread out across the country, for this year’s games.
The quarter-finals will be held in Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey on July 18 and 19. The semi-finals are to be held at Atlanta’s Georgia Dome on July 22nd, and the final at Philadelphia’s Lincoln Financial Field on July 26.
The winner of this year’s tournament will enter into a playoff later this year with the United States, winner of the 2013 Gold Cup, for a berth in the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. If the Unites States wins again this year, they will receive an automatic bid. The next Confederations Cup will be held in Russia, one year before they host the next World Cup, and will feature the host Russians, Germany as winner of the 2014 World Cup, as well as the winners of the this year’s Asian Cup (Australia) and Copa America, the 2016 European Championship winners, and the 2017 African Cup of Nations champion.
In the last Gold Cup, in 2013, the U.S. defeated Panama 1-0 in the final, on a Brek Shea goal in the 69th minute in front of almost 58,000 fans at Chicago’s Soldier Field. American Landon Donovan was the joint top scorer in the tournament with 5 goals, and he won the Golden Ball award for the tournament’s most outstanding player.
For this year’s American entry, Jurgen Klinsmann has chosen an experienced squad, with 17 of the 23 players returning from the 2014 World Cup team, and 6 players from the Gold Cup winning team in 2013. “Our approach for putting together the roster for this summer’s Gold Cup, which is very, very important to us, is obviously to do everything possible to win this competition,” Klinsmann said.
The 2015 Gold Cup should provide another opportunity for American soccer fans to watch competitive, high level international soccer, and hopefully, another step forward for the U.S. men’s national team on the world stage.