Welcome back to a new episode of the series as we analyze the continental football competitions for the North American clubs, especially for those from the two playable nations in Football Manager, the U.S.A and Mexico. In case you have missed the other three episodes of the Football Manager Competitions Guide, you can find them here:
CONCACAF: The Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football
CONCACAF was founded in its current form on 18 September 1961 in Mexico City, Mexico. Membership comprises of 41 associations with 31 from the Caribbean Zone, 7 from Central America and 3 from North America. Its headquarters are located in Miami, Florida U.S. The main tournaments organized by CONCACAF are the Gold Cup (for national football teams) and the North American Champions League.
North American Champions League
The most prestigious international club competition in North American football, the Champions League started in 1962 and it gathers the top football clubs in the region. As you probably guess that already, the winner qualifies for the FIFA Club World Cup but unlike its European and South American counterparts, they do not automatically qualify for the following season’s competition.
The tournament consists of two stages. The group stage is played from August to October, in which there are eight groups of three teams each. There is one special rule here, United States and Mexican sides cannot be drawn into the same group. The eight group winners then enter the knockout stage starting with quarter finals, which are played on a home-and-away two-legged basis. The away goals rule is used at the end of 90 minutes, but not after extra time (match goes to penalties). The same applies for all knockout stages, including the final.
It is worth knowing that the title has been won by 28 different clubs, 17 of which have won the title more than once. Mexican clubs have accumulated the highest number of victories, with 30 titles. The second most successful league has been Costa Rica with 6 titles in total.
Seedings. The current format consists of 24 teams from 12 associations, as follows:
- 4 clubs from Mexico
- 4 clubs from the U.S. and 1 club from Canada*
- 3 clubs from the Caribbean Zone, via the CFU Club Championship
- 12 clubs from Central America
* Since MLS – Major League Soccer – represents the sport’s highest level in both the United States and Canada (with 17 teams from the U.S. and 3 from Canada), there are up to 4 U.S. based teams which can qualify for the Champions League, while the Canadian MLS clubs must play against lower division Canadian clubs in the Canadian Championship for the one spot allocated to Canada.
Registration Rules and Prize Money. None, to keep all of these simple. There are no player restrictions, and the prize money are none to figurative amounts. Well I guess there are some money out there taken from sponsorship, TV rights, event presentation and so on but nothing official on their website, nor in Football Manager.
As you launch your career in Football Manager 2015, selecting the United States as a playable nation will bring up January 2014 as a starting date while selecting Mexico will bring up June 2014. Either way, the North American Champions League will start on August 6th, and you can play in the tournament if you manage one of these teams:
- DC United, Sporting Kansas City, Portland, Toronto FC and New York from the MLS
- Leon, America(MEX), Cruz Azul (defending champions) and Pachuca from Mexico
Alright. Because I mentioned this earlier, here are a few words about the CFU Club Championship (more for those of you who decided to add some extra playable leagues to the game using the editor).
The CFU Club Championship
This tournament is basically a qualifying event for the Champions League, as disputed between clubs from the Caribbean Islands, which are members of the Caribbean Football Union (CFU). There are 30 national associations affiliated to the CFU, all invited to participate with their clubs in the tournament although many members do not send a representative team every year. The winner of this competition as well as the first and the second runners-up advance to the Champions League group stage.
And now since we arrived to “a few words about…” section, I might as well add the OFC region before the end of this article. There is no playable nation from the OFC in-game so we’re not going to spend too much time on the matter, but it helps seeing the full picture and once again, nations like New Zealand can always be added using the editor.
OFC: Oceania Football Confederation
The Oceania Football Confederation consists of New Zealand, Tonga, Fiji, and other Pacific Island countries. It promotes the game in Oceania and allows the member nations to qualify for the FIFA World Cup.
OFC is predominantly made up of island nations where football is not the most popular sport. Consequently, the OFC has little influence in the wider football world, especially after the year of 2006 when the OFC’s largest and most successful nation, Australia, left to join the Asian Football Confederation thus leaving New Zealand as the largest federation within the OFC.
It is worth knowing though that the premier men’s club football competition in Oceania is the OFC Champions League, which serves primarily to determine the Oceania representative at the FIFA Club World Cup. From 2007, the winner has no longer gained direct entry to the FIFA Club World Cup, but instead plays off against the host nation champion for the final spot in the tournament. It is not clear whether this is permanent, or if that could change in the future.
So that was it for Oceania in a few words, with that being said I guess it’s time to conclude our today’s episode here. I hope you all had a good read, thanks for following and see you next time as we move to the South American continent and talk about club competitions such as Copa Libertadores and Copa Sudamericana. Stay close!
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