It’s been on, it’s been off, it’s been on again, it’s been off again, and now it’s (perhaps for good) back on once more.
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Following weeks and months of speculation and contradictory reports, the 2016 Copa America Centenario will reportedly (again) ultimately be held in the United States. According to the latest report, from ESPN FC on Thursday, an official announcement from U.S. Soccer, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL could come as early as Friday.
The event was announced last year but has been in doubt since May, when the U.S. Department of Justice indicted several top officials from CONCACAF and CONMEBOL, the respective confederations of North and South America, on corruption charges.
As host, U.S. Soccer will organize the tournament in conjunction with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL.
The final will be played at the Rose Bowl, in Pasadena, California, a source told ESPN, with one of the semifinals at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
Not only does the 2016 Copa being played in the U.S. guarantee some of the world’s biggest stars will dazzle capacity crowds all across America, but it provides the U.S. national team an high-level summer tournament at the halfway point to World Cup 2018.
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If the 2016 Copa wasn’t played in the U.S., the USMNT would not have participated in the competition at all. Having already lost out on a place in the 2017 Confederations Cup, no Copa in 2016 would have meant two tournament-less summers for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side with only World Cup qualifying taking place — often against much smaller Central American and Caribbean nations — during that time.
So bring on Lionel Messi, bring on Neymar and bring on Luis Suarez. The 100th anniversary Copa America is going to be one for the history books.