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Volume 20 No. 41
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Enrique Sanz, general secretary, CONCACAF

Enrique Sanz was named CONCACAF general secretary in July 2012 after having spent 15 years with event and sales group Traffic Sports USA. In his first year as part of the leadership of the governing body of North American soccer, he’s reorganized the confederation, implemented new business practices and looked to improve service.

— By Christopher Botta
Photo by: CONCACAF

We still seek to improve across the board. Like any forward-thinking organization, CONCACAF wants to evolve in each area of our business while assisting all of our member associations in their efforts to develop the game.

First-year changes:
We’ve put controls in place from a compliance perspective. We’re run now as a company with a budget that we must adhere to in every division: marketing, public relations, competition — everywhere. We are now a governing body focused on transparent business development.

Biggest achievement so far: I’m proud of the front-office team we have assembled. This group, in addition to the full support from our executive committee members and the 41 member association leaders and their staffs, will allow us to take [CONCACAF] President Jeffrey Webb’s vision of developing the game in the region to a tangible reality.

Supporting youth soccer: The confederation supports the development of the sport in all functional areas for our 41 member associations, including competitions, youth and coaching development, refereeing, legal, marketing, and communication assistance. An example of progress in this area was our recent CONCACAF Under-15 Championship, which exposed hundreds of youth players to international football at a higher level.

The 2014 FIFA World Cup: The World Cup is the world’s largest platform to showcase the level of soccer being played in our confederation. Our teams seized the last opportunity at the 2012 Summer Olympics by winning three medals: gold for Mexico in men’s soccer; and gold for the U.S. and bronze for Canada in women’s soccer. The continued success of representatives in Brazil will allow us to build on the momentum created last year.

To-do list for the rest of 2013: There’s a lot. It includes implementation of pan-regional grassroots programs, continuation of existing referee and coaching development programs, a CONCACAF Champions League branding project, and organizing the Women’s Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup qualifiers.