The eyes of the soccer world will be on the United States in the summer of 2016 when the centennial edition of the Copa America, the South American continental championship, will be contested in the U.S. from June 3-26.
Six CONCACAF nations, including the U.S., will contest the Cup, competing against the 10 CONMEBOL countries that normally battle for the South American championship. After months of rumors, the event has been added to the official FIFA calendar, assuring that the top players will be made available to represent their countries at the tournament by their club teams.
The host and 2013 Gold Cup winning U.S. MNT, will be joined by fellow CONCACAF nations Mexico and Costa Rica, the 2014 Central American Cup winners.
The 2014 Caribbean Cup winner will also earn an invitation to the Copa, as will two more CONCACAF countries, based on results at the 2014 Gold Cup. The Caribbean Cup will be held in Jamaica this November.
With Russia 2018 coming just two years after the Copa, U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his fellow CONCACAF coaches will have a chance to test their players against some of the best teams in the world, in Argentina, Brazil, Uruguay, and company.
CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb called the Centennial COPA, “the most important full national team tournament hosted in the Americas since this year’s FIFA World Cup.”
Added CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout, “knowing that Copa America is the oldest national team tournament in the history of football, it is an honor for us to have the event officially included in the international calendar and be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event and the foundation of CONMEBOL.”
Argentina hosted the most recent Copa America in 2011, as Uruguay claimed a record fifteenth title. The Copa will next be played in Chile in 2015.
Here are the teams that will contest the Copa America Centenario in the United States in the summer of 2016.
1. United States (host)
2. Mexico (seeded)
3. Costa Rica (2014 Central American Cup champion)
4. TBD (2014 CFU Caribbean Cup champion)
5. TBD (winner of 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup – if not one of the already qualified teams, or 2015
Gold Cup Playoff 1 winner)
6. TBD (2015 Gold Cup Playoff winner)