1/9/2009 – NEW YORK – CONCACAF will stage the draws for its under-17 and under-20 championships as well as the draw for the Caribbean Champions Cup on Thursday at its New York headquarters.

The youth tournament draws will set the two four-team, first-round groups for the CONCACAF Under-17 Championship in Mexico and the Under-20 Championship in Trinidad & Tobago March 6-15. This will be the first time since 1996 that the finals of the youth championships have been played at a single venue.

The dates for the under-17 championship have yet to be finalized, but Guatemala became the last team to qualify for the eight-nation field on December 1, beating Panama 1-0 to complete a 2-1 aggregate victory. Guatemala joined Central American neighbors El Salvador and Costa Rica, and rounded out the field that also includes Canada, Mexico, the United States, Trinidad and Cuba.

Two berths remain open in the under-20 field, with the final round of Caribbean qualifying having started Friday in St. Vincent & the Grenadines and set to end Wednesday to determine one slot. The Caribbean champion will join host Trinidad, Canada, Mexico, the United States, Costa Rica and El Salvador. The final berth will be decided in a playoff between the Caribbean runner-up and Honduras, which finished third in the Central American U-20 championship.

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The Caribbean Champions Cup draw will establish knockout pairings for an event that will qualify three teams for next season’s CONCACAF Champions League. Initially, 12 teams will be paired for two-leg series in March with the six winners advancing to join the Puerto Rico Islanders and San Juan Jabloteh.

The eight remaining teams will be drawn against one another in two-leg quarterfinals to be played in mid April, with the winners advancing to single-game semifinals May 15 in Trinidad and Tobago. The final and third-place game would follow two days later in Trinidad. Both finalists and the third-place winner will qualify for next season’s Champions League.

The first part of the Caribbean championship draw will have W. Connection of Trinidad, Jamaica’s Portmore United, Haitian clubs Tempete FC and Cavaly SA, Inter Moengo Tapoe of Suriname and Greenbay Hoppers of Antigua in one pool, and another consisting of SV Racing and SV Britannia of Aruba, Sevilla FC of Puerto Rico, CSD Barber of the Netherlands Antilles, Alpha United of Guyana and Centre Bath Estate of Dominica.

The teams in the first pool will be paired against a side from the other pool. The winners will advance and again be placed into two pools to be drawn against one another. A semifinal round draw will be conducted after the first two rounds are complete.



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