The inaugural Concacaf Nation kicks off in less than a month and in League C — the lowest tier of the competition — are 13 nations aiming to grow and gain promotion to League B in the next edition. The tournament is the first of its kind involving all 41 teams in the region and is a welcomed opportunity for many of the participants to convene and take part in more competitive matches than ever before, seven of which FIFA President Gianni Infantino recently visited to assess the development of the sport in the Caribbean.
Guatemala is a team with plenty to gain following their FIFA-imposed suspension due to corruption in their federation and will be looking to use the slate of competitive matches to regain their footing, but there is plenty of motivation for the remainder of the 12 nations involved.
Group A features Barbados alongside a collection of eastern Caribbean nations: the Cayman Islands, and Saint Martin (the French side of the island). Barbados’ lone win in qualifying came against the U.S. Virgin Islands by a score of 3-0, and it’s their goalkeeper battle that will be worth keeping an eye on. Twenty-seven-year-old Keasel Broome, Jr. of the Pittsburgh Hotspurs received the bulk of playing time throughout their last four matches, but 20-year-old Kishmar Primus got the start in their shutout victory.
The second grouping will see Bonaire, the Bahamas, and the British Virgin Islands fight it out. Bonaire met the British Virgin Islands on the final matchday of Nations League Qualifying and produced a historic result — a 2-1 win for their first triumph since 2014 — so there’s a healthy serving of revenge at stake come September 6. Bonaire ‘keeper Rishison Frans will look to replicate his level of play from the qualifiers, where he made an impressive 21 saves over four matches. Meanwhile, The Bahamas will need to improve on their previous displays in the attacking third if they are to stand a chance, as they netted just one goal in four outings.
Group C is where Guatemala will seek to sweep aside opponents Puerto Rico and Anguilla en route to promotion to League B. Puerto Rico could make life difficult for Los Chapines, however, as they rely on the efforts of Tampa Bay Rowdies defender Shawn Berry. Their meeting at Juan Ramón Loubriel Stadium on September 10 is one to pencil in on the calendar. Anguilla will hope to avoid being the punching bag of the group in light of their 15 goals conceded in qualifying.
Finally, Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos, and Sint Maarten — the Dutch half of the small island nation — will duke it out in Group D. You might remember Guadeloupe’s improbable Gold Cup run in 2007, when they slipped into the knockout round thanks to a third-place finish in group play and upset Honduras in the quarterfinals before narrowly falling to Mexico 1-0 in the last four.