It is finally official, Copa America Centenario, will be played in the United States in 2016. U.S. Soccer announced Friday that they will partner with The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF), and the Confederacion Sudamericana de Futbol (CONMEBOL). It will be the tournaments 100-year anniversary of the South American Football Championship.
That this would happen at all was in serious doubt earlier this year when both CONCACAF and CONMEBOL officials ended up as targets of corruption probes. Because of the issues with FIFA, the Federations and various other officials with broadcast rights, a committee is being formed to oversee the tournament.
To ensure there is a transparent governance structure in place to oversee the management and execution of the tournament, all three parties agreed to create a new Executive Committee to govern the event. The Committee, which will be made up of two representatives from CONMEBOL, two representatives from CONCACAF, and one representative from U.S. Soccer, will oversee policy decisions for the tournament and facilitate greater financial transparency regarding funds collected for broadcasting and sponsorships.
As part of the tournament's new governance structure, CONCACAF and CONMEBOL have reclaimed their respective broadcast and sponsorship rights for this event by ending their relationships with Datisa, S.A. The Confederations will issue a Request for Proposals (RFP) publicly to ensure transparency and accountability in the selection of new commercial partners. - Press Release
Who is in the tournament?
The 2016 Copa America Centenario will include six teams from CONCACAF and all 10 teams from CONMEBOL: Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
Host USA and Mexico are automatic qualifiers from CONCACAF while Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winner) and Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup winner) qualified this fall. The final two teams will be determined through a playoff in the near future.
With the teams from South America, there will be a number of well-known stars playing including Lionel Messi of Argentina, Neymar with Brazil and Luis "Walking Dead" Suarez with Uruguay.
Where will they play?
U.S. Soccer (serving as the Local Organizing Committee), will work with CONMEBOL, CONCACAF and the soccer community to organize and execute the tournament.
U.S. Soccer will immediately begin securing venues for the tournament and planning the operational aspects of the event. Earlier this year, 24 metropolitan areas showed interest in hosting matches during the tournament and submitted a proposal to U.S. Soccer. A minimum seating capacity of 50,000 is required for tournament venues. - Press Release
Both Kansas City and St Louis submitted interest to host but with the minimum of 50,000 seating capacity, Sporting Park and Busch Stadium would both be out. Arrowhead has natural grass and holds over 76,000 while the Edward Jones dome in St Louis holds 66,000 but has artificial grass.
Kansas City has grown a good soccer reputation the last few years and St Louis has had very good attendance for friendlies and a US match at Busch Stadium. Chicago and Nashville are the next closest cities that have submitted interest.
Kansas City also has the benefit of Swope Soccer Village where Sporting Kansas City trains as a draw for bringing games and possibly hosting teams as well.
Quality of teams and players
Short of the World Cup or EUFA Euro Championships, this would have the highest level of teams and players in one competition, what teams or players would we like to see in the Midwest?