Copa America Comes To The U.S.


Bob Koep

For the first time ever the Copa America tournament is going this year outside the traditional CONMBEBOl (South America) area and will be staged in The United States during the month of June.

To celebrate the 100th anniversary of the first playing of the tournament organizers have come up with an idea that should draw attention and have extended the competition to 16 teams from the traditional ten or 12.

In addition to the ten South American countries (Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay, Bolivia, Peru, Ecuador Colombia and Venezuela., they have added the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Panama (or Cuba to play off) and Trinidad (or Haiti, also in a playoff). Not a single word is mentioned about Canada.

That team is obviously not in the running to earn a slot for the competition.

The three-week tournament opens on June3 with the draw not having been held yet But the U.S. will open competition as host at Santa Clara’ 68,500 capacity Levi Stadium.

At total of 10 stadiums will host the 32 games with the final slated for the 82,566 capacity Met Life Stadium at East Rutherford, N.J. on Sunday June 26.

The Copa America was launched in 1916 and was staged every 4 years for some  time. Then it was switched to a bi-annual affair until it seemed to have gone out of hand. Four year intervals and three year spacing happened on and off and now it is playing just one year after the last tournament saw Chile as winner. For many years two outside teams ( especially Mexico) have been invited to make it a 12 team tournament which is easier for the statistics, but it was always played on South American soil.



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