Concacaf Gold Cup set for Caribbean debut

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf) has taken Gold Cup hosting further into new territory with the announcement that Jamaica will host two matches during this year’s edition of the national team tournament.

The matches in Jamaica, which will kick off Group C play on June 17, will feature the group’s top seed Honduras, as well as Jamaica. The games at National Stadium in Kingston will mark the first Gold Cup matches to be played in the Caribbean. Other Group C matches will be played at BBVA Compass Stadium, Houston, and Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles. This summer’s expanded Gold Cup, set to commence on June 15, will be the largest in history.

The Jamaica announcement marks the latest effort by Concacaf to expand the reach of the Gold Cup. In November, it was announced that matches would be held in Central America for the first time. The Estadio Nacional in San Jose, Costa Rica will stage a double-header, featuring the home nation, on June 16. Alongside the group stage double-headers in Costa Rica and Jamaica, 15 US metropolitan areas will host matches.

Concacaf first announced that the biennial Gold Cup would increase from 12 to 16 teams in February 2018. Since the inaugural Gold Cup in 1991, matches have been staged in the US for every edition, while Mexico has hosted games on two occasions, 1993 and 2003. Canada also held contests in 2015.

“Bringing the Concacaf Gold Cup to Jamaica is a watershed moment for our Confederation and Caribbean football,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said. “Hosting our premier competition in Jamaica for the first time is an extraordinary opportunity to promote the very best of the game in the Caribbean, while raising standards and improving access to the sport across our Confederation.”

Jamaica Football Federation president Michael Ricketts added: “This is a historic day for football in Jamaica, bringing the Concacaf Gold Cup to our country will change the entire landscape of the game in this country. The competition will inspire the growth of the sport and youngsters to play football.”

The complete groups and schedule for the 2019 Gold Cup will be unveiled on April 10 at an event in Los Angeles.