Ok, so this has gotten me really excited and waiting for this August. If you'll remember from my first post, I made a call for the CONCACAF Champions' Cup to be turned into a true Champions' League (mostly as a call to increase the profile of the US Open Cup). It looks like my dream has come true- mostly. CONCACAF today announced that a CONCACAF Champions League will begin in August, 2008- replacing the Champions' Cup. (The winner of the last Champions' Cup will go to the 2008 Club World Cup and the Champions' League will start sending its winner to the 2009 edition.)
Right now, I don't know exactly how they will choose the 24 teams that will participate. I do know that the US and Mexico will each receive four slots each. To my mind that is enough for the top three out of MLS and the US Open Cup champion. (Mexico can choose its teams however it wants, I'm just concerned with American soccer.) After all, isn't this new creation supposed to be a CHAMPIONS' League?
Here's how I see the final American breakdown for its four slots:
First Slot: US Open Cup Champion
Second Slot: MLSCup Champion
Third Slot: MLS Supporters' Shield winner
Fourth Slot: MLS regular season runner-up
(With the MLS teams, it should be the closest American team if Toronto FC actually takes any of the slots.)
I don't know how US Soccer will make the final determination, but I would hope they take outside opinion into consideration. In final regards to the Open Cup, it is US Soccer's tournament to promote- or hide. But that tournament could mean so much to American soccer fans if it is tied into the new Champions' League.
I hesitate to point out- but will anyway- that today, the day the Champions' League was announced, ussoccer.com had the new uniforms as the top headline and as of this article going to "press" the Champions' League was still not announced there. MLSNet.com and CONCACAF.com both covered, but not one of the two biggest participating federations. Hmmm, on top of things, are we? Let's hope that the reason for that is because they are going to announce how US teams will get in.
So, keeping my fingeres crossed, I will wait anxiously to find out how American teams will get in- and will keep a countdown going for August. Man, I'm excited!