It’s extremely exciting if it’s true, and BeinSports’ Phil Schoen is reporting that the Copa America Centenario is headed for the United States in 2016.
The report says the United States, Mexico and four other CONCACAF teams will join the 10 nations in CONMEBOL for the massive tournament. It also says an announcement could come by May 1, and could include the following host cities: Houston, Orlando, Washington, Palo Alto, East Rutherford and Pasadena.
The tournament has been in the planning stages for years as part of the 100th anniversary of the first Copa America and the founding of CONMEBOL, South America’s governing body for soccer. Original plans had the tournament taking place in both the United States and Mexico in an effort to tap into the vast expat communities in both nations—not to mention increased access to television and stadium revenues and sponsorship dollars. A source inside CONCACAF, the confederation that governs North and Central American soccer, told beIN SPORTS that the decision has been made that the U.S. will host the tournament.
The United States’ best finish in the tournament was a fourth-place finish in 1995, which came after a 4-1 loss to Colombia in the third-place game. Mexico has finished second twice and third thrice.
The report says the best plan so far for the other four CONCACAF spots would be to award berths to the Central American UNCAF Cup winner, the Caribbean Cup winner and the next two best finishers at the 2015 Gold Cup.
Uruguay is the reigning champion, winning the last Copa America in Argentina in 2011. The next tournament is set to be held in 2015 in Chile.
The 2011 edition was held July 1-24, and most of the recent editions have taken place mostly in July, sometimes dipping into June. Expected obstacles for the event include the FIFA calendar (World Cup qualifying) and the fact that the tournament would happen during Major League Soccer season (an issue for venues and players). It’s an Olympic year as well.
Suffice it to say: This would be tremendous.