For everybody who got excited, hot and bothered about the big news that South America’s premier national team competition was coming to the United States and adding members from our region – you might want to tuck all that excitement back in your pocket. For now, at least.
This thing has tremendous potential, but it’s already spiraling into a big mess.
The news came out yesterday that the 2016 Copa America would be played in the United States. It had been talked about, but yesterday’s development seemed to make it official.
It always seemed odd that CONMEBOL, the governing body for South American soccer, would hold its 100th anniversary tournament outside South America. But I think we all know what this is about – money. The cash potential of a 16-team tournament here including the usual South American biggies (Brazil, Argentina, etc.) along with Mexico, the United States and other members of CONCACAF was simply too much to resist. (Too “green” to resist, if you know what I mean.)
Only, it’s not true. Not yet anyway … and possibly not at all.
Turns out that neither CONCACAF nor U.S. Soccer has signed off on all this.
I just spoke to U.S. Soccer spokesman Neil Buethe. He told me statements are forthcoming from CONCACAF and then from U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati.
But the bottom line, he assured me, is that those reports are premature, and on two fronts. There are two choices here from U.S. Soccer’s side: whether the United States will participate and, the more significant one, whether it will be here in the United States.
U.S. Soccer would absolutely have to be on board.
Stay tuned on this one.