JAMIE HILL - Wednesday, February 9, 2011
CONCACAF announced today that the 2011 regional U-20 Championship will be moved up a week after the federation encountered a stadium scheduling conflict in Guatemala.
The tournament will now be played from March 28 to April 10, a change from the originally announced April 3-17 dates.
The change creates a clash between the U-20 tournament and the senior team friendlies in late March, meaning that players such as Juan Agudelo will very likely be unavailable against Argentina and Paraguay.
CONCACAF also announced the details of the draw, which will be held on Friday, February 11. The United States will be in a pot with Mexico, Canada, and the hosts, Guatemala. The second pot will consist of Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and Trinidad & Tobago and the final pot includes Suriname, Cuba, Guadeloupe, and Jamaica.
Costa Rica's participation in the tournament comes in the wake of a dispute with El Salvador over Dustin Corea, a former US youth player.
El Salvador defeated Costa Rica in the Central American U-20 qualifying tournament to claim the third and final slot alloted to that region. However, they did so with the services of Dustin Corea, who had appeared in an official match with the US U-17 team during CONCACAF U-17 qualifying in 2009.
While youth appearances do not forever tie down a dual national, Corea was required to file a permanent switch with FIFA in order to suit up for El Salvador. Since Corea failed to submit the paperwork, he was ineligible to play and thus El Salvador was disqualified.
The field for the 2011 edition of the CONCACAF U-20 Championship has been expanded from 8 to 12 countries. The change came on the heels of a decision mandating that Canada, Mexico, and the US enter a qualifying competition with the Central American nations. By creating more places for Central American and Caribbean countries, a the 12-team format was conceived as a compromise.
US U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen will convene a qualifying squad of 20 players in March to prepare for qualification.