Central American and Caribbean Games 2014: Dates, Schedule, Events and Countries

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistNovember 13, 2014

LONDON, ENGLAND - AUGUST 11:  Jorge Enriquez of Mexico falls to the ground with jubilation as team-mates celebrate winning the gold medal after the Men's Football Final between Brazil and Mexico on Day 15 of the London 2012 Olympic Games at Wembley Stadium on August 11, 2012 in London, England.  (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images

The premier sporting spectacle of Central America and the Caribbean is nearly set to commence as Veracruz, Mexico, will host the 22nd Central American and Caribbean Games starting on Nov. 14.

Veracruz 2014 isn't unlike the Olympics, with the exception that it is limited to only Central American and Caribbean nations. The Games will feature 31 countries competing across 46 different sports as world-class athletes vie for prestigious medals.

This marks the fourth time that Mexico has hosted the event, but it is the first time Mexico hasn't staged it in the capital of Mexico City. The Central American and Caribbean Games have enjoyed steady growth since their debut in 1926, and this promises to be the biggest one yet.

With that said, here is everything you need to know in order to keep tabs on Veracruz 2014 throughout the month of November.

Schedule of Events

Listing of Veracruz 2014 Sports
1Beach VolleyballNov. 26 - Nov. 30
2VolleyballNov. 15 - Nov. 20 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 30
3SailingNov. 23 - Nov. 28
4TriathlonNov. 15 - Nov. 16
5ShootingNov. 15 - Nov. 24
6ArcheryNov. 18 - Nov. 23
7Table TennisNov. 15 - Nov. 20
8TennisNov. 24 - Nov. 30
9TaekwondoNov. 15 - Nov. 18
10SquashNov. 23 - Nov. 29
11SoftballNov. 16 - Nov. 22 & Nov. 24 - Nov. 30
12Rugby SevensNov. 28 - Nov. 29
13RowingNov. 25 - Nov. 29
14RacquetballNov. 15 - Nov. 24
15Water PoloNov. 22 - Nov. 29
16Modern PentathlonNov. 15 - Nov. 18
17Speed SkatingNov. 18 - Nov. 19
18SwimmingNov. 15 - Nov. 20
19Synchronized SwimmingNov. 15 - Nov. 21
20Marathon SwimmingNov. 21 - Nov. 22
21WrestlingNov. 25 - Nov. 26 & Nov. 28 - Nov. 29
22WeightliftingNov. 20 - Nov. 23
23KarateNov. 27 - Nov. 29
24JudoNov. 20 - Nov. 23
25Field HockeyNov. 15 - Nov. 24
26GolfNov. 26 - Nov. 29
27Trampoline GymnasticsNov. 25 - Nov. 26
28Rhythmic GymnasticsNov. 25 - Nov. 26
29Artistic GymnasticsNov. 16 - Nov. 21
30SoccerNov. 17 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 28
31Basque PelotaNov. 18 - Nov. 23
32FencingNov. 15 - Nov. 20
33EquestrianNov. 15 - Nov. 17, Nov. 19 - Nov. 23, Nov. 25 - Nov. 27 & Nov. 29
34DivingNov. 25 - Nov. 27 & Nov. 29 - Nov. 30
35Route CyclingNov. 16 & Nov. 23
36Track CyclingNov. 17 - Nov. 21
37Mountain CyclingNov. 15
38BMX CyclingNov. 22
39CanoeingNov. 15 - Nov. 17
40BoxingNov. 21 - Nov. 26 & Nov. 28 - Nov. 29
41BowlingNov. 25 - Nov. 29
42BaseballNov. 15 - Nov. 21
43HandballNov. 15 - Nov. 17, Nov. 19 - Nov. 23 & Nov. 25 - Nov. 26
44BasketballNov. 19 - Nov. 28
45BadmintonNov. 23 - Nov. 28
46AthleticsNov. 23 - Nov. 30

*Daily schedule available at Veracruz2014.mx.

Participating Nations

Veracruz 2014 Participating Countries
1Antigua and Barbuda
8Costa Rica
11El Salvador
17Cayman Islands
18Virgin Islands of the United States
19British Virgin Islands
24Puerto Rico
25Dominican Republic
26Saint Kitts and Nevis
27Saint Vincent and the Grenadines
28Saint Lucia
30Trinidad and Tobago

Things to Watch

ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN to Air Veracruz 2014

While it is certainly easier for those living in Spanish-speaking nations to follow Veracruz 2014, American citizens will have an opportunity to do so as well thanks to ESPN's involvement.

According to Gabriela Nunez of ESPNMediaZone.com, ESPN Deportes will air Spanish-language broadcasts of the Games, while WatchESPN will provide viewers with online coverage.

Per Nunez, ESPN Deportes general manager Lino Garcia views this as a major coup for the company.

The Central American and Caribbean Games have become one of the most recognized sports events in Latin American and a window for young, upcoming athletes to showcase their abilities in anticipation of the Pan American and the Olympic Games. We are excited to deliver the Games to our audience, giving them the opportunity to follow and cheer for their countries and favorite sports disciples.

While there may not be as much international name recognition in the Central American and Caribbean Games as there is in the Olympics, this event will feature plenty of elite athletes who have experienced Olympic glory in the past.

Not only is this partnership great for sports fans, but it should improve the profile of the Central American and Caribbean Games moving forward as well.

Ricky Martin to Perform at Opening Ceremony

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - OCTOBER 06:  Ricky Martin performs before the 2013 NRL Grand Final match between the Sydney Roosters and the Manly Warringah Sea Eagles at ANZ Stadium on October 6, 2013 in Sydney, Australia.  (Photo by Cameron Spencer/Getty Images)
Cameron Spencer/Getty Images

Ricky Martin is one of the most legendary Latin American musicians of all time, so it is certainly fitting that the 42-year-old native of Puerto Rico will perform at the Veracruz 2014 opening ceremony.

Per The Costa Rica News, Martin's press office released a statement highlighting his excitement regarding taking part in the Central American and Caribbean Games.

"Martin is greatly honored by the invitation and appreciative of the great affection that Mexico has given him over the 30 years of his artistic career," the statement said.

One of the Olympics' biggest international draws is the opening ceremony. It always provides an interesting glimpse into the fabric of the host country, and Mexico has an opportunity to do something similar.

Although Martin himself isn't Mexican, he is representative of Latin America as a whole, which makes him an ideal headliner for the start of Veracruz 2014.

Mexico Vies for Soccer Gold at Home

Mark J. Terrill/Associated Press

While there are so many great sports and athletes worth keeping track of during the Central American and Caribbean Games, there is no question that the main storyline will be the Mexican men's soccer team's pursuit of a gold medal.

Mexico has taken soccer gold on five occasions at this event, but it hasn't done so since 1990. In fact, the Mexicans lost in the gold-medal game in 1993, 1998 and 2002. El Tri would love to gain redemption, and doing so in Veracruz would be even sweeter.

There is a great deal of excitement surrounding Mexico's prospects as it will field a strong roster of young stars. That includes Martin Zuniga of Club America as well as MLS star Erick Torres from Chivas USA, according to CONCACAF.com.

Also, Real Salt Lake's Carlos Salcedo will be on the team, and he is very much looking forward to the opportunity:

Carlos Salcedo @Csalcedojr

On my way to Mexico City to join #MexU21 and get ready to #Veracruz2014, a new chapter in my career. #CS16 ⚽️👏

Mexico certainly looks like the team to beat on paper, but the pressure of playing at home could cause some issues. The Mexicans will have a ton of crowd support, though, and the scene will be incredible if they can take gold.

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