Exciting international soccer is scheduled for stadiums across the country this June, as the Copa America Centenario — a unique championship of the Americas (CONCACAF and CONMEBOL) — will be played in the United States. This year marks the first time the tournament includes six national squads from CONCACAF, and the first time it will be held outside of South America.
2016 is the one-hundredth year of the both Copa America tournament and the South American confederation — therefore it has been dubbed the centenario. The two confederations agreed to participate in this joint tournament to mark the anniversary. The strictly South American Copa America has been played 44 times in 100 years, and is scheduled for Brazil in 2019 and Ecuador in 2023.
Historically, Uruguay has won the most titles — 15 — in a tournament traditionally featuring all of the South American teams and a few invited regional squads. The reigning champion is Chile — the host nation defeated Argentina in the 2015 tournament — a game that was won on penalty kicks after a nil-nil draw.
The 32 matches of this year’s tournament will be held in ten stadiums across the United States from June 3 through June 22.
Play will feature some of the world’s best teams — 16 teams will participate, including world powerhouses Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay, as well as our own men’s national team.
Many great players are scheduled to appear — a rare treat for American soccer fans. Some of the world’s superstars who will likely be playing include Argentina’s Lionel Messi, Chile’s Alexis Sanchez, Mexico’s Chicharito, and Uruguay’s Luis Suarez.
The United States is scheduled to play in the opening game of the tournament, against Colombia, at Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, on June 3.
The Americans will also play group games on June 7 against Costa Rica at Chicago’s Soldier Field, and June 11 versus Paraguay at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Additional sites for group stage games include Orlando’s Citrus Bowl, and the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
The four quarterfinal matches will be played June 16 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, June 17th at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, and June 18 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA, and Levi’s Stadium.
Semifinal matches will be played June 21 at NRG Stadium in Houston, and June 22 at Soldier Field. The Third Place game will be played June 25 at the University of Phoenix Stadium.
The Final match is scheduled for June 26 at MetLife Stadium. MetLife, home of the NFL’s Jets and Giants, opened in 2010 and has a capacity of more than 82,000, which should provide a great atmosphere for the tournament championship.
Tickets are currently available — so fans should get tickets soon to ensure that they are able to see the world’s best soccer players in person this summer.
Image of Mexico’s Andres Guardado courtesy concacaf.com.