2016 Copa America

By Bob Koep

The 2016 Copa America starts Friday evening, June 3, and the entire tournament is played for the first time in the U.S. It seems to me they want to make the Copa America a permanent Tournament of the Americas because there are only ten countries in the South American CONMEBOL federation and  a 16 team event makes a better show and produces more money. Actually there are 13 countries in South America but only 10 are members of the CONMEBOl federation.

It looks money is guiding soccer everywhere these days and expansion is the way to go. The European championships starting next week have been expanded to 24 teams (up from 16) and talks are well under way to expand the World Cup from 32 to 40 teams.

Opening game of the Copa is at Santa Clara featuring U.S. vs Columbia.
There are the usual 10 South American countries plus six from CONCACAF to make it a 16 team affair in four groups of four each.
There are the U.S. Mexico, Haiti, Jamaica,Panama and Costa Rica representing CONCACAF and one wonders why Canada is not even mentioned as a potential participant.

This is the 100’s edition of the Copa and it has always been a South American show down. However,
for many years now two outside countries have been invited as guests to bump up the tournament from ten to 12 teams.
But now we are going to 16 and hopefully that will be it.
Mexico and the U.S. have been invited before. But the question is, why three South American teams have always been ignored. Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana are located on the South American continent but, strangely, are members of CONCACAF.  Still they rarely compete anywhere but at least Suriname and Guyana are contesting the 2018 World Cup.

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