KANSAS CITY, MO - The Kansas City Wizards will be one of two representatives from the United States that will take part in the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup, beginning play in the tournament in March of 2005. The Wizards, by virtue of being the runner-up in MLS this season, and MLS Cup Champions D.C. United will represent the United States in the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup, the annual regional tournament featuring the top clubs from North and Central America and the Caribbean. The winner of the Champions Cup will advance to the FIFA World Club Championship in Japan.
"This is an enormous opportunity for our club," said Wizards General Manager Curt Johnson. "With a berth in the FIFA Club World Championship on the line, the importance of the Champions Cup is magnified. We look forward to the challenge and are proud to be one of the two representatives of Major League Soccer taking part in the tournament."
Three team's have already qualified for the 2005 edition of the Champions Cup including Kansas City and D.C. as well as Mexican League Clausura Champions, Pumas UNAM. They will be joined by the Mexican League Apertura Winner (TBD) and the winner of the Caribbean Football Union between Harbour View FC (Jamaica) and Tivoli Gardens FC (Jamaica).
Rounding out the field of eight will be three teams that qualify from the Torneo Interclubes de UNCAF (Union Centroamericana de Fútbol), a qualifying tournament in Central America. The four teams that will compete in this tournament the first week in December are CD F.A.S. (El Salvador), CD Olímpia (Honduras), CSD Municipal (Guatemala) and Deportivo Saprissa (Costa Rica), of which three will advance to the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup.
The draw to determine the Wizards first opponent will take place in early January with the two-leg quarterfinal series of the Champions Cup beginning in March of 2005. The first leg is tentatively scheduled for March 9, 2005 and the second leg on March 16, 2005. The two-leg semifinal series is scheduled for April 2005 and the two-leg final series set for May 2005. The draw for the 2005 Champions Cup will take place in early January.
The Champions Cup winner will earn a berth in the 2005 FIFA World Club Championship, a six-team tournament to be held in Japan in December 2005. The champion of each of the six Confederations - CONCACAF (North & Central America & Caribbean), CONMEBOL (South America), UEFA (Europe), AFC (Asia), CAF (Africa) and OFC (Oceania) - will take part in the World Club Championship.
The Wizards took part in the 2002 Champions Cup and advanced to the Semifinals where they fell to Monarcas Morelia of Mexico. They defeated W Connection FC of Trinidad & Tobago 3-0 on aggregate goals, then knocked off Santos Laguna of Mexico 3-2 on aggregate goals to reach the Semifinals. They fell to Morelia 7-2 on aggregate goals in semifinals.
For more information on the 2005 CONCACAF Champions Cup, log on to www.concacaf.com or www.kcwizards.com.