The CONCACAF Under-20 Championship is a biennial tournament that determines a champion and the Confederation’s qualifiers for the FIFA U-20 World Cup. It provides the perfect platform for those performers on the cusp of transitioning to full international football.
As CONCACAF’s second oldest competition, the Under-20 Championship was launched in 1962 with Panama as host and Mexico capturing the first of its record 13 titles.
The tournament has been contested 24 times under various formats. From 1962-1974, before the introduction of the FIFA World Youth Championship (eventually becoming known as the FIFA U-20 World Cup), it was a non-World Cup qualifying event.
Since 1976, the competition acted as qualifier for the 1977 FIFA World Youth Championship and has done so ever since. It has crowned a champion each time it was played with the exception of five occasions from 1998-2007, when the final round was split into two groups of four and was played in two different countries.
In 2009, the final round reverted back to a competition consisting of two groups contested in a single country to decide a winner. Two years later, the field was expanded to 12 teams (four groups of three teams each).
Ahead of the 2015 event, in a bid to favor development and competition, the format was modified once again. The 12 participants were split into two groups of six, increasing the number of guaranteed games for each participant to five, up from two in the previous editions. The group winners after round-robin play advance to the World Cup. In order to determine the Confederation’s other two representatives, the second- and third-place nations from each group advance to a pair of single-game playoffs with the winners progressing as well.
For 2017, the tournament was redesigned to increase the number of meaningful, competitive matches played by each team. The top two squads from each of the three, four-team groups in the first round will advance to the Classification Stage, which will consist of two groups of three teams each. The top two sides from each group will qualify for the 2017 FIFA Under-20 World Cup in Korea Republic. The two group winners will also meet in the final.
Teams from Central America and Caribbean qualify for the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship through regional tournaments, while Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are automatic entrants from the North Zone.
CONCACAF UNDER-20 CHAMPIONSHIP
Hosts, Champions & FIFA U-20 World Cup Qualifiers
(all FIFA U-20 World Cup Qualifying competitions unless indicated otherwise)
|1976||Puerto Rico||Honduras, Mexico*|
|1980||United States||Mexico*, United States|
|1982||Guatemala||Honduras*, Mexico**, United States^|
|1984||Trinidad and Tobago||Canada, Mexico*|
|1986||Trinidad and Tobago||Canada*, United States|
|1988||Guatemala||Costa Rica*, United States^|
|1990||Guatemala||Mexico*, Trinidad and Tobago|
|1992||Canada||Mexico*, United States|
|1994||Honduras||Costa Rica, Honduras*|
|1996||Mexico||Canada*, Costa Rica, Mexico, United States|
|1998||Guatemala, Trinidad and Tobago||Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, United States|
|2001||Canada, Trinidad and Tobago||Canada, Costa Rica, Jamaica, United States|
|2002||Panama, United States||Canada, Mexico, Panama, United States|
|2005||Honduras, United States||Canada, Honduras, Panama, United States|
|2007||Mexico, Panama||Canada**, Costa Rica, Mexico, Panama, United States|
|2009||Trinidad and Tobago||Costa Rica*, United States, Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago|
|2011||Guatemala||Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico*, Panama|
|2013||Mexico||Cuba, El Salvador, Mexico*, United States|
|2015||Jamaica||Honduras, Mexico*, Panama, United States|
** As FIFA U-20 World Cup host, did not participate in CONCACAF Under-20 Championship.
^ United States progressed to FIFA U-20 World Cup following the disqualification of Honduras and Mexico in CONCACAF Under-20 Championships of 1982 and 1988, respectively.