Amid concerns that the tournament wouldn’t take place due to recent corruptions issues still breathing throughout the soccer world, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and U.S. Soccer have recently released a statement that the Copa America Centenario is to proceed as planned. The tournament will take place in the summer of next year in the United States, the first time the tournament will be played outside of South America, according to ESPN.com.
The tournament is played in the summer after a World Cup year, and features teams from the aforementioned regions and leagues. Fourteen spots of the 16-team tournament are locked up, including: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela, United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica. Panama will play Cuba for the 15th spot and Trinidad & Tobago will play Haiti for the 16th and final spot.
Fewer than 15 major sporting venues across the United States will be selected from a list of 34 locations, including: MetLife Stadium, Georgia Dome, M&T Bank Stadium, Soldier Field, Gillette Stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, AT&T Stadium, FedEX Field, Ford Field and so on and so forth. This international competition will be played as some of the best sporting venues the United States has to offer. The finals are scheduled to be played at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California. The cities will be able to bid for hosting duties.
This will be the 45th time the tournament will be played and the 16 teams is an increase from the usual 12. Last year, Chile, who played host, won their first Copa America title, with Argentina being the runners-up.
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The tournament will be a step up from this summer’s Gold Cup tournament, where the United States had a disappointing fourth-place finish. Mexico took home the trophy in the tournament over the summer, while Jamaica and Panama finished ahead of the USMNT.
The USMNT is in the midst of a slump, currently losers of three straight matches including a 4-1 route from Brazil, a 1-0 loss to Costa Rica and a 3-2 loss to rival Mexico.