A United States court has ruled in the favour of CONCACAF in the case of a $US20m lawsuit filed against former general secretary Chuck Blazer, but the football body isn’t expected to get a cent as the estate of the former official has been left in dire financial straits.  

In April 2017 regional football’s governing body sued to recover for at least $US20 from Blazer, who pleaded guilty to racketeering, money laundering, wire fraud and tax evasion, all linked to kickbacks he received in exchange for media rights and tournament marketing contracts, as well as bribes involving the 1998 and 2010 World Cups and several Gold Cup tournaments.

With Blazer having died months after the suit was filed a settlement agreement was recognized between the organisation and Blazer’s insolvent estate, which succeeded Blazer and six companies he controlled as a defendant in the case.  The chances of CONCACAF recovering any money are, however, extremely low. 

Prior to his death in July, Blazer owed at least $18 million in federal income taxes.  The administrator of the estate uncovered assets worth about $845,000 but determined it is unlikely that any additional assets discovered will be enough to satisfy the federal and state tax liens or any other creditors.

The Jamaica national team is slated to face the United States in a friendly international scheduled for June 5 at the Audi Field in Washington.

The match will serve part of both team’s final preparations for the CONCACAF Gold Cup, which will kick off on July 15.  The match will be the first between the teams since the United States defeated Jamaica 2-1 in the 2017 Gold Cup final.

The USA has traditionally dominated the fixture, with the Jamaicans having to wait until 2012 to record their first win in 25 games.  The Jamaicans, however, also eliminated the United States from the semi-finals of the 2015 Gold Cup, before going on to lose to the United States.

The teams have had contrasting results in their last couple of matches.  The United States registered comfortable 3-0 and 2-0 wins over Panama and Costa Rica, respectively, while Jamaica suffered losses to El Salvador and Costa Rica.

Jamaica are currently 54th in the FIFA World Rankings. Mexico (17th), the U.S. (25th), and Costa Rica (37th) are the only higher-ranked CONCACAF teams.

The United States will renew their rivalry with Canada in the inaugural CONCACAF Nations League, while Mexico will come up against Panama.

Similar to UEFA's Nations League, the North American competition has been created to maximise the quality, quantity and frequency of competitive matches for all of CONCACAF's 41-member associations.

The draw took place in Las Vegas on Wednesday, with Gregg Berhalter's unbeaten USA drawn alongside Canada and Cuba in Group A of League A.

Gerardo Martino's Mexico – who have won their opening two games under the former Barcelona and Argentina head coach – will face Panama and Bermuda in Group B.

Adopting a round-robin, home-and-away format for the group phase – taking place in September, October and November this year – the four group winners from the top tier will advance to the final championship.

The semi-final and final will be played in March 2020, while the bottom teams from League A and B will be relegated as the League B and C winners gain promotion.

CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said: "Through the Nations League, we have opened the doors of CONCACAF, and its football, to all."

 

LEAGUE A

Group A: USA, Canada, Cuba
Group B: Mexico, Panama, Bermuda
Group C: Honduras, Trinidad and Tobago, Martinique
Group D: Costa Rica, Haiti, Curacao

LEAGUE B

Group A: French Guiana, St Kitts and Nevis, Belize, Grenada
Group B: El Salvador, Dominican Republic, St Lucia, Montserrat
Group C: Jamaica, Guyana, Antigua and Barbuda, Aruba
Group D: Nicaragua, Suriname, St Vincent and the Grenadines, Dominica

LEAGUE C

Group A: Barbados, Cayman Islands, Saint Martin, U.S. Virgin Islands
Group B: Bonaire, Bahamas, British Virgin Islands
Group C: Guatemala, Puerto Rico, Anguilla
Group D: Guadeloupe, Turks and Caicos Islands, Sint Maarten

The United States maintained their perfect record under head coach Gregg Berhalter with a 1-0 victory over Ecuador in an international friendly.

Gyasi Zardes made it three wins from three matches since Berhalter's appointment after breaking the deadlock nine minutes from time in Orlando.

Zardes' long-range shot deflected off a defender and looped over Ecuador goalkeeper Alexander Dominguez as Berhalter became just the second USA coach after Bob Bradley in 2007 to win each of his first three games.

The USA were flawless heading into the international fixture after wins against Panama and Costa Rica and they made a bright start on Thursday.

Paul Arriola, Christian Pulisic and Zardes were in the thick of the action against Ecuador, who had a lot to thank Dominguez for during the early exchanges.

Ecuador – headlined by Manchester United veteran Antonion Valencia earning his 94th cap – slowly found their feet and started to get on the ball, though the USA should have taken the lead approaching the half-hour mark.

Some lovely interchange play between Zardes and Pulisic set up Arriola with a one-on-one chance just outside the six-yard box but Dominguez used his outstretched leg to thwart the Americans.

Berhalter's men did put the ball in the net four minutes later, however, it was ruled out of for offside, though replays showed it was a very close call on Jordan Morris.

Ecuador – who failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup like the United States – managed to get in behind before half-time thanks to Beder Caicedo, whose shot flashed just over the crossbar in a timely warning for the hosts.

The South American visitors defended well and they continued to do so in the second half amid a host of substitutions for both sides, which impacted the rhythm of the match.

Ecuador – who offered little in attack – looked comfortable in defence as they match appeared to be petering out for a draw.

However, Dominguez went from hero to villain after he was caught scrambling off his line by Zardes, who secured a third successive victory and clean sheet.

 

What does it mean? Berhalter and Co. on track

This is the last break before the USA's CONCACAF Gold Cup campaign gets underway in June. There is work to do for the Americans but fans should be encouraged by a performance that was capped with a goal.

USA continue to impress

With Pulisic – who will join Chelsea from Borussia Dortmund at the end of the season – back in the starting line-up, there were more encouraging signs for the USA. The 20-year-old, like his team-mates, showed glimpses of their potential – especially in the first half – with plenty of pace and passing as they continue to rebuild under Berhalter.

McKennie carried off

It is not what the coaching staff and supporters wanted to see. The 20-year-old Schalke midfielder hurt his ankle and had to leave the field on a stretcher. The only blight on an otherwise positive night for the USA.

What's next?

The USA welcome Chile to Houston on Tuesday, while Ecuador are on the road against Honduras on the same day.

 Disgraced former CONCACAF boss Jeffrey Webb has had his sentencing pushed back for a ninth time as he remains under house arrest in the United States.  

Webb is currently facing charges of money laundering and corruption relating to his time as head of CONCACAF and as a FIFA executive.  The former official pled guilty to the charges in 2015 but has seen his attorneys constantly appeal to have the sentencing put off.

Webb, who was due to be sentenced this month, has been under house arrest in the US and has already forfeited $6.7 million in illicit proceeds.  The 54-year-old Webb was banned for life by FIFA’s Ethics Committee and fined CHF1 million (£759,000, US1m).

Despite admitting to racketeering charges, Webb seems increasingly likely to serve jail time if the current trend continues.

Late goals from Sebastian Lletget and Paul Arriola saw United States make the most of their superiority and beat Costa Rica 2-0 in Saturday's friendly, as Gregg Berhalter clinched a second win from as many games as coach.

Berhalter's reign began with a comfortable 3-0 win over Panama on Monday, and although they looked be heading for a frustrating tie, USA – whose squad is made up entirely of players from clubs in North America – finally made the breakthrough towards the end.

A dull first half had few highlights and looked to be evidence of the squad's lack of familiarity, but USA really stepped things up after half-time.

Opportunities became a regular occurrence and USA even hit the post twice, as Costa Rica struggled to hold on, and the visitors' luck finally ran out 10 minutes from time as second-half substitute Lletget opened the scoring, and Arriola wrapped things up.

The closest either team went before the break saw Costa Rica's Marvin Loria blast just over from 25 yards in the early exchanges.

USA looked much more switched on at the start of second half, piling the pressure on almost immediately.

But Cristian Roldan was guilty of an inexplicable miss in the 51st minute, shooting wide from 10 yards despite Gyasi Zardes' header teeing him up perfectly.

Nick Lima then sent a fierce drive against the left-hand post from inside the box, before Djordje Mihailovic shot over from a similar distance.

Costa Rica continued to ride their luck and USA hit the left-hand post once again 22 minutes from time – Roldan's sweetly struck 20-yard attempt hitting the upright.

USA eventually got the goal their second-half display deserved with 80 minutes on the clock, as Lletget met the cross from fellow substitute Jonathan Lewis at the back post, nodding past Esteban Alvarado.

And Arriola sealed the win right at the end, clipping a neat finish over the approaching Alvarado.

Six-time Olympic gold medallist Allyson Felix and long-time rival to Jamaica’s Veronica Campbell-Brown gave birth to a daughter Camryn late last month, several media outlets have reported.

On Sunday, the United States Soccer Federation announced the hiring of Gregg Berhalter as its new Head Coach.

Berhalter takes over for interim coach Dave Sarachan after spending the previous five years at the helm of the Columbus Crew in Major League Soccer.

“We are excited to announce Gregg as the next head coach of the U.S. Men’s National Team,” said USSF President Carlos Cordeiro in a statement.

“As an experienced former National Team player and highly regarded professional coach, we are confident he is the best person to guide our program forward. We are looking forward to formally introducing him on Tuesday in New York,” added Cordeiro.

Berhalter’s first major tournament in charge of the U.S. will be the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup in which the U.S. will seek to repeat as champions after lifting the trophy in the 2017 edition.

The United States will participate in Group D and play its three group stages matches in Saint Paul, Minnesota on June 18, Cleveland, Ohio on June 22 and finishing in Kansas City, Kansas on June 26.

The U.S. is a six-time champion of the Gold Cup, second all-time to Mexico’s seven titles.

As a player, Berhalter earned 44 caps and was a member of the 2002 and 2006 FIFA World Cup teams for the U.S.

"This is a tremendous honor,” Berhalter said in a statement. “Having played for the National Team I know what it means to represent our country.  I believe in our players and our program, and together we will work to build something special and develop a team that will make our supporters proud.”

The Technical Study Group at the CONCACAF Under-20 Championship do not believe the Caribbean, or any other region outside of the two teams that made the final of the competition had enough of an impact to warrant a place in a Best XI line up.

The Under-20 final saw the United States and Mexico contest a final with a Diego Lainez brace, giving the former a 2-0 win for their second title.

The performances prompted the TSG to pick eight players from the US and three from Mexico.

Of note throughout the tournament was Mexico’s Diego Lainez, who was a standout for the runners up throughout the tournament.

The Best XI is led by United States goalkeeper Brady Scott, winner of the Golden Glove Award, U.S. midfielder Alex Mendez, who was named the winner of the Scotiabank Golden Ball and Mexico forward Jose Macias, winner of the Golden Boot.

CONCACAF Under-20 Championship Best XI

Goalkeeper - Brady Scott, United States

Right Back - Sergino Dest, United States

Left Back - Chris Gloster, United States

Centre Back - Mark McKenzie, United States

Centre Back - Gilberto Sepulveda, Mexico

Centre Midfielder - Brandon Servania, United States

Centre Midfielder - Alex Méndez, United States

Centre Midfielder - Diego Lainez, Mexico

Winger/Right Midfielder - Ayo Akinola, United States

Winger/Left Midfielder - Ulysses Llanez, United States

Striker - José Macías, Mexico

Jamaica will be at the Rugby League World Cup for the first time in their history after they beat the United States 16-10 earlier on Saturday.

The Reggae Warriors will make their inaugural bow in the World Cup thanks to Jy-Mel Coleman’s two first-half penalty goals as well as tries from Joel Farrell and Keenen Tomlinson.

The efforts gave the Reggae Warriors a 16-0 lead but the USA Hawks would come roaring back before the break.

Tries from halfback Conor Donehue and Ryan Burroughs meant the half would end 16-10.

The Reggae Warriors then showed their defensive prowess in the second half, to keep the period scoreless and become the 11th country to qualify for the 2021 showpiece.

“This team was built on defence. For us to hold them out after they threw everything at us including the kitchen sink and we held on, I’m really proud of the boys,” said Reggae Warriors assistant coach Roy Calvert.

The victory also meant the Warriors claimed the 2018 Americas Championship.

“This is a long time coming. There’ve been a lot of sacrifices, a lot of hard work. I’m so happy,” said Calvert.

“I’m so proud of this group of boys. We’ve kept this team playing together for the last two years. There’ve been a lot of financial sacrifices,” he said.

“This is history, it can’t be taken away from us.”

As the Reggae Warriors prepare for Saturday's game against the United States in the Americas Championships with a spot in the World Cup on the line, coach Romeo Monteith reveals that the team has been focused on tactics and getting healthy.

Jamaica have named their 19-man squad for their Americas-Championships clash against Canada at the University of North Florida Stadium in Jacksonville on Tuesday.

The United States clinched its eighth consecutive berth at the FIFA Women's World Cup with a 6-0 semifinal victory over Jamaica at the 2018 CONCACAF Women's Championship at Toyota Stadium on Sunday night.

Jamaica’s Reggae Girlz moved closer to historic qualification for the FIFA World Cup following a 9-0 win over neighbours Cuba at the H-E-B Park in Houston, Texas, on Thursday.

With both teams coming off impressive performances, the United States and Panama seek their second win of the 2018 concacaf Women's Championship when they clash in a Group A match on Sunday night. 

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