CONCACAF, CONMEBOL announce long-rumored 2016 Copa America Centenario

Landon Donovan, Neymar

photo by John Todd/ISIphotos.com

By FRANCO PANIZO

At long last, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have made an announcement regarding the widely-speculated 2016 Copa America Centenario.

The two federations announced at a press conference in Miami on Thursday morning that the 45th edition of the Copa America will be played in the United States on the 100th anniversary of the inaugural 1916 tournament. The competition, which will run from June 3-26, will mark the first time that the Copa America is played outside of South America.

Not currently on FIFA’s international schedule, the Copa America Centenario will be comprised of the 10 CONMEBOL teams and six sides from CONCACAF. The United States and Mexico are CONCACAF teams assured of places in the tournament, and they will be joined by the 2014 Caribbean Cup and Central American Cup champions.

The final two CONCACAF spots will be filled after a four-team playoff. The four countries to advance furthest in the 2015 Gold Cup that are not already qualified for the 2016 Copa America will do battle in playoff matches and that will determine CONCACAF’s final two places.

The venues for the tournament have not yet been decided. Cities interested in hosting matches will be able to bid on them in the future.

CONMEBOL president Eugenio Figueredo said Thursday that while the tournament is not currently on FIFA’s schedule, the two federations are hoping that it will be by the time the tournament kicks off.

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What do you make of this announcement? How excited are you about this tournament? Hoping this becomes a regular competition?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, Featured, South American Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

131 Responses to CONCACAF, CONMEBOL announce long-rumored 2016 Copa America Centenario

  1. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Now we can be officially excited about something we still know nothing about.

    • Joe says:

      +1. Great comment!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      There are known unknowns and unknown unknowns. This all gives me comfort.

      • Aguinaga says:

        Well, actually, we do know with a good degree of confidence that the Central American teams will not get past round 1. :D

        • JCC says:

          “Well, actually, we do know with a good degree of confidence that the Central American teams will not get past round 1.”

          Not sure why you think this, both Costa Rica and Honduras have gotten past the group stage when they’ve participated in past Copa Americas.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          I laughed a little.

      • MisterJC says:

        The absence of evidence is not the evidence of absence. No need to worry…

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Imperative Rumsfeld: me too. I wasn’t being sarcastic about being ignorantly excited.

      • marymotherofjesus says:

        Tv contract has to be worth a cool hundred mil

    • beto says:

      Lol, yup!

    • Increase says:

      I know that RFK is a stadium they are considering and that sucks.

  2. reignman says:

    Cue up the hype train, all aboard

  3. ARGH says:

    to the average AMERICAN who is not a fan of soccer, what does this mean? will it help soccer grow in this country? will it help promote the NT? will it help make household names of Messi and Aguero?

    • Dman says:

      It means we get to go see Brazil and Argentina and Columbia and Chile and Uruguay beat the crap out of Concacaf teams.

      • James says:

        I think CONCACAF will do better than people expect. So many of the players play in MLS, giving them a home field advantage. Costa Rica will be a handful, as will Hondurous, and maybe Canada will finally get their act together.

      • Andy in Atlanta says:

        Actually those sides often field sub strength teams for the Copa America… I doubt there will be a lot of A list superstars.

        Still excited about it though.

        • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

          I think the stardom level will depend a lot on whether it’s a FIFA date.

      • Felix says:

        If you look at the history of CONCACAF teams playing in the Copa America, they have generally performed admirably.
        I wouldn’t sell our confederation short – they will be just as hyped to go against the big boys from down south as much as we are.

        • Jesse says:

          Just not the C-team that Bob Bradley took. We got slaughtered.

          • MidWest Ref says:

            Remember that the C-team was sent because the A-squad had already participated in a Gold Cup that concluded a few weeks before.

            This joint cup will assure that there are not competing interests between the confederations – I hope.

    • Sheriff Bart says:

      It can’t hurt.

    • tp says:

      It gives the average American something akin to the world cup to watch and get involved in. The WC attracts plenty of american non soccer fanatics, as does the Euro, to an lesser degree. The gold cup does not have that draw. However add in big name teams from the WC, especially if Argentina and Brazil (or Chile Uruguay etc.) go far this year, and give the average American the USMNT to root for and this should out draw the Euro for veiwership.

    • Keith says:

      “to the average US Citizen who is not a fan of soccer, what does this mean?” (ftfy)

      Same thing the NFL playoffs mean to people who aren’t fans of NFL.
      Same thing MLB playoffs mean to those people who don’t care about baseball.

      Who gives a damn what non-fans think?

      • analyst/therapist says:

        unfortunately, those people are the focus of all the financial stakeholders (ie the people who make all of the decisions).

        • Keith says:

          I’m not a financial stakeholder, I’ll admit. But counting on converting non-soccer-fans for this tournament is beyond stupid. This isn’t 1994, we’re past that now. I believe the backers know there are enough fans of the game here now – not to mention enough immigrants from all participating countries – that they only have to worry about putting out a quality product. They’re playing to a fan base, not trying to create one.
          Premier international friendlies sell out in the US. Non-premier US friendlies sell out in the US. Bring a competitive tournament here and it will sell out, easily. There is no fan conversion needed to be a success. So, the average non-soccer-fan this is a null event. And that’s just fine, the non-fans don’t matter any more.

  4. pen says:

    a summer of soccer?

    Euro 2016- June 2016
    Copa America – July 2016
    Olympics – July 2016

    1 question, why couldn’t they move the 2015 Copa to 2016. I mean it makes no sense to be a year after the previous CA despite it being in Chile. If you ask me this is quite confusing but $$$$ solves that I suppose.

    please I pray a majority of games are in LA.

  5. pen says:

    I want to see Jozy score 8 goals during this tournament. Home field advantage

  6. whatever says:

    how do south americans feel about this?

    that we are stealing their tournament for $$$ or are they excited to see something new with the tournament, some badly needed newcomers and excitement?

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      They might think it funny that their regional championship is being held outside the region. Nothing inherent in the 100th year of the South American championship screams USA or even North America. The initial version wasn’t here or anything.

      I don’t think we are swiping it because it’s an extra tournament off cycle.

    • slowleftarm says:

      It’s not stealing their tournament, this is just an extra edition of it.

    • whoop-whoop says:

      We’re not stealing it, they are selling it to us.

    • JP says:

      Most South Americans will be excited about it.

      Outside of Brazil, mostly due to the WC preparations, the other South American countries don’t have the facilities to host these tournaments well. Some will probably take the opportunity to visit the US. It is often cheaper to fly from South America to the US than within South America. I know. Try to grasp that one…

      MLS and Mexican soccer in general continues to gain in popularity in South America as several of their 2nd tier and other older famous European players find their way into these leagues. They know the US has the money, organization, and athletic talent to make the sport successful in the long run.

      Then, in 2019, the Copa will be going back to be hosted by Brazil.

      • John says:

        ehh?

        Chile, Brasil, Argentina, Venezuela & Colombia all have the infrastructure in place to host this event.

        • chuck says:

          only Brazil could host it properly. The other countries’ stadiums are dumpsters

          • John says:

            Seeing as how Argentina, Colombia and Venezuela have all hosted successful Copa Americas in the last 12 years, I’m inclined to believe you don’t actually know what you’re talking about. yup

        • MLS_Soccer_Talker says:

          You lost credibility when you mentioned Venzuela. You do realise that country is in shambles.. facepalm…

          • John says:

            Face palm at you reading comprehension.

            The point I replied to talked about infrastructure and Venezuela hosted one of the most successful Copa America tournaments in recent memory back in 2007.

            Another face palm for pretending that Venezuela has only been under political unrest recently.

            Get out more & bring a newspaper with you.

            Might help your reading comprehension.

    • Cornholius says:

      I’m from Argentina and I’m really excited about this!!

  7. Sheriff Bart says:

    I wonder when they will announce some information on venues. I really dig the soccer stadiums that MLS teams have built during the past 10 years but will a 20,000 seat stadium suffice. I hope they will take a cue from the Man. U v Real Madrid game that will be played at Michigan Stadium where they sold nearly 115,000 tickets within 72 hours and select it to host the final.

    • Don't Care says:

      Michigan sucks.

      • ross says:

        +1

        This guy really thinks that Ann Arbor, Michigan would make a great venue for the final match? Try to get out a little bit more.. and detroit doesn’t count because it sucks too

  8. Doesn’t look so good for Canada getting in this tourni

    • James says:

      I had this same thought. Do they qualify via the Central American Cup? I’m guessing they’ll prefer the Caribbean competition.

      • Hogatroge says:

        They’ll have to do well in the Gold Cup, but could get a bit lucky if the US, Mexico, and the winner of the Central American Championship are taking up 3 of the 4 semifinal spots. That way they could possibly qualify just by making the semifinals.

        I’m just being realistic in thinking that the Caribbean champions won’t make it to the semis, but if they did, that would bolster Canada’s chances.

  9. Jamie says:

    Wikipedia has the tournament dates as June 3-26. I would assume that’s wrong as that’s right at same time as Euros. I would hope it would be July.

    • RK says:

      So? What’s wrong with having two continental competitions at the same time?

      • vic says:

        In fact, that’s how it should be. Clubs are already releasing their players, so just release the rest of em. Better than having the euro players gone one month and the south american players gone another.

      • Jamie says:

        No problem at all. I’m just thinking from a viewing standpoint. Then again the Euros would be on morning and afternoon and the Copa would probably be in prime time mostly…so bring it on I guess!

        • Jamie says:

          Didn’t know if anyone caught this. They released the Euro match schedule last week. June 10 – July 10! A whole month like the World Cup!

          2 tournaments, 40 countries. 2016 is truly gonna be an awesome summer with this and the Copa!

        • Sharkbait says:

          Not sure what the problem would be from a viewing standpoint. All of the Euro 2012 games were over by 3 or 4 pm eastern. I’d imagine all of the Copa America games will take place in the evening so if anything it should just make for awesome days of soccer all day long.

          • Jim says:

            Daytime drinking + night time drinking = one heck of a month of soccer.

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            awesome days of soccer all day long…for folks who don’t have any responsibilities whatsoever.

            And yet, advertisers—who actually pay for all this—know that a lot of those folks will pick and choose matches rather than try to catch them all. Advertisers would much prefer that the tourneys did not overlap.

            I can get away with one month of zombie-fied late night at work incessant talking about and watching the World Cup only once every four years.

  10. Reid says:

    This as a great opportunity for Miami and NYCFC to show off their new stadiums

    • Good Jeremy says:

      Sarcasm?
      They won’t be ready, and they wouldn’t be big enough if they were.

      • Reid says:

        I actually wouldn’t mind some of these games to be in smaller stadiums. USA v Costa Rica was nice last year in a 40k stadium, but would have been even better in a 25k stadium. And looking at Peru, Ecuador (maybe depending on area), Costa Rica, Trinidad or Jamaica, Uruguay, Paraguay, etc it would be nice not to be in a 70k-85k stadium. I think the idea should be entertained.
        Prior comment was snark.

    • Jim says:

      Yankee Stadium it is, then.

    • chuck says:

      yeah Sun Life and Yankee stadium are gonna be great venues

  11. the original jb says:

    So both the copa and the olympics are at same time? So presumably no olympic players will be on the copa team and vice versa. Might be some difficult decisions about who goes on what roster. And you wouldnt think that any major senior team player would want to miss the copa to be an overage player on the olympic squad. Anyway should be an awesome summer of soccer!

    • Jim says:

      No, the Copa and the Euros are at the same time. Olympics are in August.

      Copa 2016: 3 June – 26 June 2016
      Euro 2016: 10 June – 10 July 2016
      2016 Summer Olympics: 8 August – 21 August 2016

      • Jim says:

        Sorry, the Olympics start on August 5, not 8.

      • Hogatroge says:

        A good chunk of group stages games can be finished in the Copa America before the Euros start. With 2 games per day, 2 full rounds of the group stage will be done in the Copa America.

        Even though the games won’t overlap timewise with the Euros, general interest will be higher for the Euros. The importance of the knockout round games in the Copa America will hopefully offset the fact that the Euro group stages might be a bigger draw.

        • Hogatroge says:

          To clarify…

          I’m saying if the casual fan watches 2 matches in a given day (while both tourneys are going on), they may be more likely to watch a Costa Rica-Brazil knockout round match than the more boring of the 2 Euro games.

      • beto says:

        Wow that is going to a crazy summer

  12. milbo says:

    is this gonna be an East Coast centric tourney? I hope they break out of the stale demographics mold that they use for the Gold cup

  13. Cairo says:

    I am going to go to a zillion of these games. It could break every soccer attendance record if you put games/teams in the right cities. LA, Chicago, NY, the Bay Area all come to mind as cities with huge populations from Central and South America. Let’s dust off Freddy Adu for this one!

  14. Maykol says:

    So lets predict the future, who wins? Brazil obviously is a candidate as they have the most depth of any team in the world, mexico if they get back to that post gold cup form of 2011, that was a scary team, US i guess has home advantage? Then of course colombia and argentina

    • Total Relegation says:

      Colombia will win it, not to be confused with the University.

      • Warren says:

        One hopes that people won’t be doing the Colombia/Columbia mix-up. I mean, it’s just one letter, but c’mon.

    • beto says:

      USA over Brazil! Statement time!

      It would be our first BIG internation cup win.

      Other options:
      Uruguay has the most Copa success and I can see Suarez and Cavanni peaking in the next three years (WC, Copa America and Copa ‘Murica)

      Same could be said about Messi leading Argentina to their first Copa title in a long time.

      Mexico could do it as they would have incredible support and good history vs So. American teams and dispite 2013, this is their so called Golden Gen.

  15. Kung Fu Kangaroos says:

    This tournament should become permanent and the regular Gold Cup and Copa America should go away.

    • MisterJC says:

      That is the hope, but CONCACAF has to sign off on that notion. If they don’t feel it benefits the region as a whole, then they won’t allow it…

      • Jim says:

        If Jamaica and Honduras get waxed in all three of their games, then yeah, don’t count on CONCACAF getting on this train permanently.

      • jcr says:

        Agreed. South America does not have many teams in Concacaf does not have enough top teams. Together you get something closer to the Euro tournament and much more TV money.

    • Mike R says:

      +10000000000000000000

    • Outlaw says:

      there is no reason to do it, except for Mexico CONMEBOL doesn’t rate the rest of CONCACAF, in fact it was the Mexican Federation who proposed to host the tournament in the US, the original idea was to host it in Mexico.

  16. Maykol says:

    Also wonder what guys will be done by this time for the US, could jones, donovan, maybe even beckerman retire by then? Or maybe just finished their international careers

  17. nick smith says:

    Please come to Seattle!

    • Brain Guy says:

      Please get real grass!

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        We actually have real, lush, beautiful grass right underneath the turf in CenturyLink. We’re just waiting to reveal it until after we hear the one billionth mention of how we should get grass.

  18. Lu says:

    One thing is for sure. Mexico will play in the largest stadiums (Cowboys, Metlife, etc) because they will sell them out

    • Hogatroge says:

      There is no shame in waiting until the draw to allocate stadiums for maximum profit and fan enjoyment.

    • Jim says:

      Rose Bowl, Jerrydome, and Met Life Stadium for El Tri.

      El Salvador will be in RFK or FedEx.

      Brazil will be in Boston or Miami.

      US will get 3 smaller SSS stadiums.

      Etc etc etc.

      • Ben says:

        I seriously doubt El Salvador will be in this tournament. They aren’t very good to begin with, and most of their team got lifetime bans for match fixing last year.

  19. slowleftarm says:

    If everyone brings their A teams, this will be an awesome tournament and a great opportunity for us to see some great players live. If not, it’ll still be interesting but also a bit of a letdown.

    • MisterJC says:

      That’s why we must hope FIFA will add it to the schedule. It would reveal a clear UEFA bias if they didn’t make it happen. Hopefully, Gulati’s position on the executive committee will be good for something tangible like this tournament…

  20. beto says:

    Cant wait until the venues and groups are announced. wont happen until after the 2015 Gold Cup but early speculation…

    Final in:
    East Rutherford?, Miami? Pasadena?

    USA games:
    Seattle?, Chicago? Washington? Columbus?

    12-16 Stadiums:
    ?

    • FulhamDC says:

      I’m thinking the final is in Miami. Lots of South Americans there – especially Brazilians, and a shorter trip for most of the continent.

    • MikeG says:

      Phoenix and SoCal (SoCal for sure, but where)?

    • mwesson says:

      The final will almost certainly be in Miami.

      Knockout stages likely in Dallas, NYC, LA, Miami

      Other 3-4 cities could be Houston, Chicago, Atlanta, Boston

    • Ivan says:

      Seattle only if they put real grass. Football shall not be played on that abomination called artificial turf.

  21. Bobert says:

    yes!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  22. MikeG says:

    Hopefully they will play matches in my city or a city close enough I can get a hotel room for a few days and drive. Love it.

  23. George says:

    Early rumors mentioned the Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando. Damn,I hope so. I can definitely see Miami’s Sun Life Stadium getting some matches. There are many Latin Americans in Miami.

    Can’t wait!

  24. Meh. says:

    Not too excited. It’s an obvious moneygrab by the conferences. They’re probably hoping all the Latin American soccer fans will turn up and spend their dollars in droves here like they do with the Gold Cup, but they can rely on South Americans instead of just Mexican/Central Americans.

  25. Mike R says:

    Not on the FIFA calendar?

    So it’s a glorified friendly tournament…

  26. KingGoogleyEye says:

    Photo comments:

    {sob} I actually miss that Where’s Waldo kit—just look at that red and blue!

    Soccer players who pull their socks up over their knees look ridiculous.

  27. Cowboy Junky says:

    The bigger news, lost in all of this, is that Concacaf and Conmebol are looking at a full on merger. This isn’t just limited to Copa 2016.

    Since Europe announced the new Euro league, there are going to be much fewer opportunities for American teams to play friendlies vs. Euro squads.

    Now Concacaf and Conmebol are considering a full on merger, not just Copa. They’re talking about 1 champions cup for the entire American continent. They’re talking about a possible permanent American championship similar to the Euros. They’re talking about one qualification process for everyone in America.

    This is great news.

  28. KingGoogleyEye says:

    I saw speculation from one author, but no indication that anyone with any authority is considering it.

    • Cowboy Junky says:

      Yeah, it’s still speculation, but you would have to think it’s on the table. It just makes too much sense. There’s a ton of money in it.

      Imagine U.S. markets and U.S. sponsors for any of those tournaments. With the quality of the south american teams and the political influence of the entire American continent combined, those tournaments would flourish.

    • MisterJC says:

      I think there’s a quote contributed to CONMEBOL’s president that he was hopeful of eventually making this a permanent occurrence. Maybe Goal.com had it, but I don’t recall at the moment…

      • Cowboy Junky says:

        I’ve seen that quote. I know they’re considering making Copa America a permanent fixture for the Americas champion.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        From the SI article linked a few comments above:

        “Figueredo said Thursday that he hoped to see “a more permanent association” between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF and that he envisioned a “joining of forces” in the future. He omitted any specifics concerning what that might entail. It’s easy to fantasize about a regular Pan-American championship or watching an MLS team try to withstand the pressure of La Bombonera. But at the moment and for the foreseeable future, there a lot of hurdles between that dream and the reality. Too many, in fact, to imagine any of it happening soon.”

        Kinda vague, wide open for interpretation and wild speculation.

  29. Cowboy Junky says:

    I say merge the whole thing. Make Concacaf and Conmebol qualify together. Make the Copa America a permanent true tournament that tests all of America: just like the Euros. Combine the champions leagues into one entity.

    Two games a cycle vs. a Brazil, Argentina, Uruguay, or Colombia is going to increase the ability of our team. Merging the Conmebol and Concacaf qualifying process would increase the amount of quality competition the U.S. plays. Merging the champions league will increase the quality of competition that our domestic athletes face. It will make the U.S. a better team.

    Just imagine the potential revenue, economic stimulus, world notoriety, and soccer buzz you could generate for a world cup qualifier againt Brazil in Miami. That would be off the charts. Now, imagine that you get four of those big home games per qualifying cycle. The more things you merge, the more quality games there are on U.S. soil.

    People would pay top dollar for a 15th row seat at the centerline vs. Brazil. They would really pay top dollar if that game had meaning, like world cup qualifiers do.

    Merge it. Consolidate the Americas.

    • wfrw07 says:

      If we played a World Cup qualifier against Brazil, it would be in Anchorage before it would be in Miami.

  30. GW says:

    The most obvious thing about this Copa America move is that it will greatly benefit the USMNT’s preparations for the 2018 World Cup.

    Realistically, the 2014 team will probably be led by Dempsey, Bradley, Howard, Jones, and Donovan with assists, perhaps, from , DMB, Edu, Beckerman, Goodson and EJ.

    Of those veterans only Mikey and maybe Mo, both of whom will be approaching their sell by date, are likely to be around in 2018.

    Of the younger,newer guys who are likely to see a lot of PT on the 2014 team, Jozy, Cameron, Zusi ,Bedoya and Chandler will be approaching 30. Hopefully, Besler, Gonzo, Ream and Brooks will fool everyone and do very well this summer . And hopefully , if they make the team , guys like AJ, Mix, Corona, Green, Shea, Boyd, Morales, Packwood, etc. will get meaningful competitive international experience.

    Regardless, there is no doubt the 2018 WC campaign will benefit greatly from the heightened competition the Copa America would bring.

    Since JK took over he has had only the B team Gold Cup and a shortened Olympic qualifier round to test his schemes and his players. Leading up to 2018 he will have the Gold Cup, Copa America, and possibly the Confederations Cup to blood his men. And he will have the Olympics for the kids, assuming Porter does not return to screw that up.

    This gets the US off the 2 year cycle it had been on and puts it more on par with the big Euro teams that have the Euros and the World Cup to blood their guys.

    It can only help.

  31. KingGoogleyEye says:

    It would be nice if this becomes a repeating event, but I don’t see that happening in a way that would be truly meaningful to US fans. I mean, we’re excited because it’s going to be here, not just because the US and five other CONCACAFers will be playing. I can’t imagine the SA countries rolling over and allowing us to host their tournament from now on.

    So, an alternative that has almost no chance of ever happening, but I can dream anyway: have CONCACAF host a different confederation every 4 years:

    2016: CONCACAF + CONMEBOL
    2020: CONCACAF + CAF (would be awesome!!)
    2024: CONCACAF + AFC and OFC (not too exciting except Japan, Korea, Australia, Iran and…Tahiti!)
    2028: CONCACAF + UEFA (if the event were successful this long, maybe UEFA would agree to it)

  32. Scott e Dio93 says:

    Good. By the time of the Copa America 2016, USNT might have some replacements for Demspey and Donovan. While Aron and Jozy have to be experience leaders in attack, others like Brooks, Boyd, Green, Hoyos, Gatt, Farfan, Shuler, Gil, and others will have enough clubs experience and enough caps with full USNT.