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Canada to compete in new CONCACAF Nations League qualifiers

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It’s like the UEFA Nations League, but with more CONCACAF.

Canada v Honduras: Group A - 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

CONCACAF announced today that its inaugural Nations League competition will kick off qualifying in September 2018. The tournament will begin with all but its top-six seeded teams playing four qualifiers from September to March 2019.

The seeding has been determined by CONCACAF’s new ranking index for senior men’s national teams, which gives points to teams based on “strength of the teams competing, home-field advantage, actual match performance and final result of the match, and importance of the match.” No word yet on how exactly those are all measured, but it seems to be meant as a kind of in-house version of the FIFA rankings.

Unfortunately, the Canadian men’s national team appears to fall outside the top six group that will get byes through qualification. They’re currently seventh behind Mexico, the U.S., Costa Rica, Panama, Honduras, and Jamaica.

So, Canada was placed in Pot A of the draw for qualification matches. Their schedule is as follows:

Matchday 1: U.S. Virgin Islands vs. Canada
Matchday 2: Canada vs. Dominica
Matchday 3: Saint Kitts & Nevis vs. Canada
Matchday 4: Canada vs. French Guiana

The Nations League will apparently split up CONCACAF members into three tiers (League A, B, and C). The results of the qualification tournament this fall/winter will apparently be used to seed teams into the three “leagues,” as they’re called.

League A apparently will have four groups of three teams, for a total of 12 competitors. Last-place finishers in each group will be relegated to League B for the next Nations League tournament, to be replaced by League B’s group winners.

The final championship of the Nations League is apparently slated for March 2020.

The Nations League has a little extra weight to it because it will serve as a qualifier for the 2019 Gold Cup, which has expanded to 16 teams.

For those still confused, CONCACAF has posted a video explaining how it all works here. It’s like the UEFA Nations League, but with more CONCACAF.

Added onto this news is the reveal of a new logo for North American football’s governing body. CONCACAF has adopted a new stylized sun emblem, paired with, apparently lower-case lettering.