Canada will play home matches in October 2018 and March 2019 when the new Concacaf Nations League Qualifying kicks off across the confederation for 2018-19.
The two home matches are part of a four-match international competition featuring 34 Concacaf nations who were drawn from four pots on Wednesday. Canada will play U.S. Virgin Islands away in September 2018, Dominica at home in October 2018, St. Kitts & Nevis away in November 2018, and French Guiana at home in March 2019 over the course of the four FIFA match windows.
The exact dates, kickoff times, and venues for all 68 matches will be announced by the respective Member Associations at a future time.
“We know that these matches are going to be very important as they count towards Concacaf Nations League, Concacaf Gold Cup, and eventually FIFA World Cup Qualifiers,” said John Herdman, Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team Head Coach. “There is a real opportunity within this competition to enhance our skills within Concacaf so that we can build that resilience for when it really matters.”
At stake in Concacaf Nations League Qualifying is a spot in the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup as well as classification groups in Concacaf Nations League. From 68 qualifying matches, the top six nations will qualify for both the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and CONCACAF Nations League "A", both of which already feature the top six nations from the 2016-17 “Hex” round of 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia Qualifiers.
The expanded 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup – up from 12 to 16 nations – will feature Costa Rica, Honduras, Mexico, Panama, Trinidad and Tobago, USA, the top-six nations from Concacaf Nations League Qualifying, and four other nations that will qualifying through a playoff in the Spring of 2019.
“It is a completely new landscape, but it gives Canada the chance to be on the starting line as everyone goes through the same process,” said Herdman. “We can use the program to our advantage because there is something important to becoming experts within Concacaf and building towards the bigger matches.”
“Our two home matches will again provide our Men’s National Team with a chance to connect with the country,” said Herdman. “These are not friendly matches, but meaningful matches for which we need to mobilise our fans and create a fortress for Canada at home.”
Canada Soccer’s Men’s National Team have won each of their last three home matches dating back to 2015 while both the Men’s National Team and Women’s National Team have combined for an eight-match undefeated streak in 2016 and 2017.
"Speaking to some of our key players, they know how important the next four years are and they know that they have an opportunity to become game changers and heroes for this country,” said Herdman. “There is real clarity in the group and there is belief that we can take the game to a place it hasn't been in more than a quarter of a century."
Canada are two-time Concacaf champions, having won the Concacaf Championship in 1985 and the CONCACAF Gold Cup in 2000. In winning the 1985 Concacaf Championship, Canada qualified for the 1986 FIFA World Cup Mexico™; in winning the 2000 Concacaf Gold Cup, Canada qualified for the FIFA Confederations Cup Korea/Japan 2001.