CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani has been in Jamaica promoting the opening of the Federation's new Caribbean development office, which is perhaps how the Jamaica Gleaner got him to say a few words on the subject of regional soccer's future.
Montagliani confirmed CONCACAF's intention to expand the Gold Cup from its current 12-team format to an expanded 16-team competition, though he also said qualification details had yet to be confirmed.
And he quashed the notion that CONCACAF might merge its World Cup qualifying tournament with CONMEBOL (one of the suggestions to emerge from discussion of future expansion to the World Cup), telling the Gleaner:
That won't happen. Can CONCACAF AND CONMEBOL work on things together? Other tournaments and stuff like that? Absolutely! We are two specific confederations and so we'll have our World Cup qualification and they'll have theirs.
But perhaps the most interesting news was Montagliani's assertion that CONCACAF is looking into a "league of nations":
We've got some of our national teams, whether it be in the Caribbean or Central America or even in North America, like with Canada, where rather than playing 40 games in a four-ear period, which is every FIFA date, they play like single digits or 10. You're not gonna grow or develop that way, so this League of Nations concept is for everyone to play on a consistent basis and keep the dream alive to qualify for things like a Gold Cup or obviously a World Cup.
This is another idea already floated, and slated to be discussed at CONCACAF's Ordinary Congress in Aruba this April. It is unlikely to affect the region's heavyweight teams: the USA and Mexico don't have much difficulty filling their respective schedules. But beyond the top four or five national teams in the region, the flow of regular games can be erratic. The Caribbean is perhaps most acutely affected - for example, Jamaica is sitting out the current international window, with no games scheduled.
If CONCACAF has its mind set to organize a tournament that will provide the necessary structure (and funding) for the region's smaller nations to regularize their national team programs, then it ought to be to the benefit of the region as a whole. When the weaker sides are playing more regularly, they should be better able to organize their player pools, develop continuity of tactics and selection, and present a sterner challenge to more established teams. And a better test at the regional level will send CONCACAF's top teams to World Cups seasoned by better and more regular competition.