An ESPN report has surfaced indicating the next Copa America will be played on American soil in 2016. U.S. soccer, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL are finalizing plans to seal the deal. The Copa America Centenario will be celebrating its 100 year anniversary. The tournament has never been played outside of South America.
The report says that the Final will be held at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California.
Copa America Centenario will be comprised of 16 teams including Mexico, the USMNT, four others from North and Central America and the Caribbean alongside 10 South American nations.
A surprising development because it almost did not happen due to corruption charges involving CONCACAF and CONMEBOL. Per the report more than $110M in bribes was used to secure the rights to the tournament.
FIFA, soccer’s governing body, is involved in a controversy scandal at the moment. Many FIFA officials have been indicted on bribery charges and FIFA President Sepp Blatter is currently appealing a 90-day suspension. Presidential hopeful Michel Platini is now being investigated for accepting money from Blatter leading to the Football Association suspending their support towards his candidacy.
Controversy behind, the Copa America in the United States is wonderful for fans. They would get the chance to see world class players like Lionel Messi, Luis Suarez, Neymar, James Rodriguez, Alexis Sanchez and many more.
Since the 1994 World Cup, soccer has grown in popularity. The MLS, now in its 20th year, has enjoyed much success. The level of talent and competition has been impressive to say the least. Notable players outside of the U.S. are taking notice and plying their trade in the states. Perhaps that’s why the American market was appealing to tournament officials.
European clubs have their preseasons in America because of the resounding support. Imagine the following for a meaningful and well-respected tournament. The USMNT and Mexico recently sold out the Rose Bowl in a bid for a Confederations Cup berth.
A tournament of this magnitude could be a precursor to a future World Cup. The U.S. has been overlooked for future World Cups, but a successful competition could sway officials to reconsider granting America another touornament. The venues, resources and support are in place for an event of that magnitude to take place in the U.S. In the meantime it’s a huge positive for the U.S. to host the Copa America.
What do you guys think?