The Soccerex Americas Forum has gathered more than 1,000 leading businesses, administrators, rights holders, coaches and former players from across the Americas to learn, network and do business. This is the first time Soccerex hosts a conference in the Caribbean region. In his opening remarks, Webb emphasized the importance of football to youth in the Caribbean.
“This game in the 41 national associations of CONCACAF is a game of power,” he said. “A game that we understand moves our youth. A game that we understand provides aspiration, inspiration. But more importantly, a game for the youth of the Caribbean that provides hope.”
Webb expressed his pride in the growth of Mexico’s Liga MX and Major League Soccer in the United States, holding them as examples of how their success can impact the entire region overall. He also emphasized the key role Central America and the Caribbean have in challenging these markets with the right investment in development.
“We have to understand the markets that we have in CONCACAF, the opportunity,” signaled Webb. “Understand that through Mexico, within the USA and the MLS, we have two leagues out of the top ten in the entire world from attendance standpoint and from a commercialization standpoint. It is incredible, and, of course, we have what happened in the World Cup. That is only the beginning. We said a few years ago that for the north to evolve to grow and be challenged, the Caribbean must start it. The Caribbean must light a fire to challenge Central America, and Central America must ignite and of course challenge North America.”
The two-day event features exhibitions, networking events and a conference program that addresses topics such as sports tourism, major events, club and league development, sports medicine, player performance and welfare. As an important component of his address, the FIFA Vice President also stressed CONCACAF’s desire to host the 2026 World Cup.
“CONCACAF must host World Cup 2026,” said Webb. “We must stand and we must unite as a region.”
Later in the day, CONCACAF also signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the University of the West Indies (UWI) Cave Hill Campus. The agreement’s purpose is to engage in cooperative programs and develop new educational opportunities for players and students throughout the Confederation’s region.