The U.S. men's national team may get a shot at going up against Neymar in the 2016 Copa America, which will be staged in the United States. (Mark Goldman/Icon SMI)
The United States will stage its biggest international men's soccer tournament since the 1994 World Cup in 2016, when it hosts a combined CONCACAF-CONMEBOL Copa America, the two confederations announced in Miami Thursday morning.
The 2016 edition will mark the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL, and to celebrate that landmark it is opening up the prestigious summer competition to six CONCACAF entrants: the USA, Mexico and four teams who will qualify in the next two years. Two will come from the 2014 Caribbean and Central American cup champions, while two others will qualify through the 2015 Gold Cup.
The Copa America Centenario tournament -- which will join Euro 2016 and and the 2016 Summer Olympics on a congested summer calendar in two years -- will take place across the U.S. CONCACAF president Jeffrey Webb said it would be "a process" to determine the host sites and that the competition would take place from June 3-June 26.
According to the Miami Herald, the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.; MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.,; Reliant Stadium in Houston; the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.; and Stanford Stadium in Palo Alto, Calif., are among those being considered. The competition is not yet on the FIFA calendar, which would provide a hurdle to securing clubs' top players for the tournament. It is also going to overlap significantly with Euro 2016, which runs from June 10-July 10.
There have been rumblings about the joint-confederation competition since October 2012, when CONMEBOL jumped the gun and announced that it would take place. CONCACAF and U.S. Soccer urged that it was too early to call it a done deal for months, but ultimately, CONMEBOL's premature announcement was spot on: It is going to take place and is going to involve the hemisphere's most prestigious international teams.
CONCACAF teams have participated as guest nations in the competition before. The USA played in the 1993, 1995 and 2007 editions, finishing in fourth in 1995. Mexico has been the most regular guest nation, playing in eight tournaments and finishing as runner-up twice: to Argentina in 1993 and Colombia in 2001.