ABC's of Soccer - Competitions

Competitions: The CONCACAF Champions League

SS Concacaf

Clubs each season compete for the title of being their league and nations champions. Beyond competing for that, certain MLS clubs also have the opportunity to compete for the prestigious title of Champions of North America in a competition known as the CONCACAF Champions League. This competition is held annually and includes 32 clubs from 12 different associations around the continent.

How to Qualify
For Major League Soccer Clubs there are a few ways to qualify for the tournament. Four slots are allocated to the United States-- the winner of the Supporters’ Shield, the winner of the opposing conference, the winner of the MLS Cup, and the winner of the Lamar Hunt U.S Open Cup. Canada is allocated one slot for the winner of the Canadian Championship, the Canadian version of the U.S Open Cup. If a Canadian team wins the Canadian Championship and either the MLS Cup or the Supporters’ Shield, the highest ranked U.S.-based MLS team that has not otherwise qualified will take the last slot.

The Format
The tournament operates with a preliminary tournament and principal tournament. The preliminary tournament consists of 13 Central American teams and three Carribean teams, with the winner of that tournament moving on to the main tournament, which includes 15 other teams that have already qualified. 

The main tournament, which is a knockout-style tournament, is held from February to April. For MLS clubs, this stage of the tournament occurs during the first half of the MLS season. Each round consists of two legs with each team hosting one match each. Each winner in the knockout round is determined by aggregate scoring just as in the conference semifinal and final rounds of the MLS Cup Playoffs. Seeding during this round is determined by the results during the group stage.