Getting your Trinity Audio player ready...
When Philippe Moggio was initially approached about the opportunity to assume the position of general secretary at the Confederation of North, Central America, and Caribbean Association Football (Concacaf), he understandably had some hesitation. It had only been a year since the 2015 FIFA corruption case had made waves worldwide, and Concacaf was heavily in the mix.
Moggio was a senior vice president for the NBA and had successfully overseen the expansion of the league’s business and development throughout Latin America and the Caribbean through media distribution, sponsorship, and licensed merchandise. By all accounts, Moggio was at the top of his game. Swapping that to head up an organization that had been through so much turbulence would be a huge call. Some might say a risky one.
To understand why Moggio eventually made the decision to come to Concacaf as its general secretary, it’s important to note just now much competition has pushed him. Moggio grew up a competitive tennis player who would go on to represent his home country of Colombia in multiple Davis Cup appearances. He’s a born competitor.
As he examined the Concacaf organization more thoroughly, he saw a chance to help turn around an organization at its lowest moment.
“After all of the corruption had been routed out, it was clear to me that this organization was truly in a moment of rebuilding itself,” explains Moggio, who also acts as the Confederation’s CEO. “This was a rock bottom moment, and I understood the tremendous potential for this organization to grow a sport that so many all over the world love and hold sacred. With the right leadership, with the right governance, I knew there was something great to be built within the broader FIFA ecosystem.”
With the blessing and collaboration of Concacaf President Victor Montagliani, and following the vision Montagliani had laid out for the future of the Confederation, Moggio has done what he does best: win big. For Moggio, that starts with the organization’s social commitments.
A Bigger Game
Concacaf’s Bigger Game is the organization’s push to use football across its regions to improve the communities in which it operates. Bigger Game’s mission is to promote the game and its values across the region by increasing access to opportunities through football and social responsibility initiatives.
Bigger Game takes aim at creating access to the sport at a grassroots level, coaches’ education, expanding football for women and girls, increasing areas for play, and community building and disaster relief and preparedness; areas of focus that help communities and regions grow through a shared love of the sport.
One of the most successful programs of Bigger Game is Generation Amazing, a human and social legacy initiative created in by FIFA and the organization responsible for delivering the legacy for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022. The initiative, carried out in partnership with Concacaf, provides local coaches with the training and education they need to bring football expertise to their communities.
“Generation Amazing creates after-school programs run by coaches that we teach,” Moggio explains. “We use the sport to teach life skills to young boys and girls across our region.”
Generation Amazing is currently active in twenty-one countries within Concacaf’s region and will expand to all forty-one of its member associations by 2026. “By delivering programing, access, and training in these areas, we will positively impact all forty-one member associations as we look towards World Cup 2026 and beyond,” he notes. “We invite like-minded organizations and brands to join us on this exciting journey.”
Women’s Gold Cup
Concacaf has greatly expanded the opportunities for its competitors to compete on a much more consistent basis during its four-year cycles. The organization has created centralized pillar events and revamped its qualification process, maybe best exemplified by its Road to the W Gold Cup, the qualifying event for Concacaf’s first-ever Women’s Gold Cup slated for February 2024.
“We have more than tripled the number of matches that we put on in a four-year cycle,” Moggio explains. “This year, we are executing almost seven hundred games across different competitions in our different regions. For an organization of our size, that’s a significant achievement. Ultimately, it’s going to heighten the performance of all our teams, whether they are regular competitors at World Cups or aiming to compete to qualify for a Gold Cup for the very first time. Most importantly, it’s going to continue to bring communities and fans together.”
The New Club Ecosystem
Concacaf also completely overhauled its club competition ecosystem over the past two years to allow more playing time for those competitors as well. The inaugural launch of the rebranded Concacaf Champions Cup also kicks off in February and will also include the best from Major League Soccer, Liga MX, and Central American and Caribbean leagues.
“This expansion will continue to raise teams’ profiles as they look to qualify for the FIFA Club World Cup,” Moggio says. “It’s another accomplishment that we’re very proud of as we continue to grow this sport within our region.”
Growing through Community
If the cups, the leagues, and the regions have overwhelmed you, Concacaf’s broader progress since 2015 is quite easy to chart. New leadership has made a world of difference for an organization that is helping to put its fans and competitors first. Concacaf continually looks to expand equity in football and bring the joy of the game to all regardless of gender or socioeconomic status.
Always the athlete, Moggio has found a way to win in yet another sport. But for him, it’s not about the win. It’s about the challenge. “I deeply believe that sports can be a tremendous catalyst to help communities, to help individuals, and to provide the right tools and life skills for people to become better in their lives,” he says. “Our mandate isn’t just about growing our elite competitions; it’s about developing the sport at all levels and using the power of football to help communities throughout the region and beyond.”