Copa America Centenario: What You Need to Know Before June
Unless you've been living in a dark remote cave some place, cut off from communication with the rest of the world, then more likely than not you've heard mention that Copa America Centenario is coming to the United States. If you're not really sure what that means, or unsure why that's a big deal, its time you get brought up to speed before June.
Here's what you need to know:
What is Copa America?
Copa America is the longest running international tournament in the world, traditionally consisting of 10 CONMEBOL (South American) clubs joined by two other nations to compete in a month long tournament.
What's the "Centenario" part about?
This year's Copa America is a little different. 2016 marks the 100th anniversary of the tournament. To celebrate this momentous occasion, the Centenario tournament will be super-sized with 16 teams from CONMEBOL & CONCACAF competing for the trophy. 2016 will also be the first year in Copa America history that the competition will take place in a nation outside of South America. It is easily the largest soccer event the United States of America has hosted since 1994 World Cup.
When is it?
The tournament opener is set for June 3rd at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, California where hosts USA take on Colombia. The final will take place in New Jersey on June 26th at MetLife Stadium. Ten total stadiums have been selected to host matches, including:
- University of Phoenix Stadium – Glendale, Ariz.
- Lincoln Financial Field – Philadelphia, Pa.
- MetLife Stadium – East Rutherford, N.J.
- CenturyLink Field – Seattle, Wash.
- Rose Bowl – Pasadena, Calif.
- Gillette Stadium – Foxborough, Mass
- Soldier Field – Chicago, Ill
- Citrus Bowl – Orlando, Fla.
- Levi's Stadium – Santa Clara, Calif.
- NRG Stadium – Houston, Texas
View complete tournament schedule HERE
In total 16 nations will be competing, 10 from CONMEBOL & 6 from CONCACAF.
- Costa Rica
Wait, does this mean Messi will be playing on US soil?
This tournament is somewhere in the same equivalence as UEFA's Champions League is to Europe. It is a big deal. A really flipping big deal, and with that will come play time from the world's biggest and best footballers from the 16 nations competing. A.K.A. yeah Messi will be there, along with a long list of other huge international football stars. For many US fans it will be a once in a lifetime opportunity to watch these teams compete live.
How does the tournament work?
The structure of the tournament is very similar to that of the World Cup, and fairly simple. The 16 teams are drawn into 4 groups of 4. During the group stage, each club will get the opportunity to play the other 3 teams in the respective group one time, with the top 2 teams in each group advancing to the knock-out round. The eight remaining teams will play single elimination matches down to the two final teams compete for the cup on June 26th.
What Group is the US in?
The four official groups are as follows:
- Costa Rica
- United States
I'm so excited for Copa America Centenario! But where am I going to get the best supporters gear to represent my team!?!
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