Three clubs from the Caribbean Football Union (CFU) were included in the draw of the twenty-four clubs qualified for participation in the 2013-2014 CONCACAF Champions League which took place in Miami on Monday, June 3, 2013.
The clubs are Valencia FC of Haiti, W Connection FC and Caledonia AIA FC both of Trinidad and Tobago. The teams were drawn in eight groups of three and created some thought-provoking match-ups. According to David John-Williams President and CEO of W Connection FC he is happy with the draw and is confident that they can qualify from the group in which his team was drawn in.
“No game will be easy but we feel that we are capable of qualifying out of the group. For us we are happy that our travel to away games only involves one flight on both occasions. We have had success against teams from the MLS and Central America in the Champions League in the past and we hope that we will be consistent during the group stage so that we can qualify for the next round of the competition.”
The Caribbean teams may not have the flair associated with the former champions but are certainly in the lineup to hold the prestigious CONCACAF silverware and are anxiously waiting on the schedules to be released to apply their skills successfully on the field of play.
Jamaal Shabazz, Head Coach of the Caledonia AIA was just as optimistic in his comments regarding the draw: “This is a very interesting draw and Caledonia AIA relish the opportunity to play Toluca and Comunicaciones in the CONCACAF Champions League.
This is a very important moment for Caribbean football since in the last two years off the field we have been through a lot. In the World Cup Qualifiers it is only Jamaica carrying the flag so the onus is on W Connection, Valencia and Caledonia to continue to carry the Caribbean flag at the CONCACAF level.”
“In the case of Caledonia we have got to strive to come out of the group because we already were involved as mere participants last year. We want to advance now not just for us but for the region, because the Caribbean must not be left behind.”
Competition rules barred teams from the same country, as well as those from Mexico and the United States, from meeting in group play. Such a situation surfaced twice during the draw which required adjustments to the groups; however, everything went well in the end.
As the records state, Arabe Unido (Panama), Houston Dynamo (USA) and DirecTV, W Connection (Trinidad & Tobago) have been drawn in Group 1 of the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League.
In Group 2, Olimpia (Honduras), Sporting Kansas City (USA) and Real Esteli (Nicaragua) was drawn.
Herediano (Costa Rica), Cruz Azul (Mexico), and Valencia FC (Haiti) forms Group 3.
In Group 4 there is Club America (Mexico), Alajuelense (Costa Rica), Sporting San Miguelito (Panama) while in Group 5 there is San Jose Earthquakes (USA), Montreal Impact (Canada) and Guatemala #2 (Guatemala).
Comunicaciones (Guatemala), Toluca (Mexico) and Caledonia AIA (Trinidad & Tobago) make up Group 6 and in Group 7 there is Club Tijuana (Mexico), Victoria (Honduras) and Luis Angel Firpo (El Salvador).
Group 8 comprises LA Galaxy (USA), Isidro Metapan (El Salvador) and Cartagines (Costa Rica).