By RYAN TOLMICH
The 2016 Copa America Centenario is set to take place in the U.S. in what is likely the biggest tournament to hit American soil since the 1994 World Cup. After being recognized by many as a major event in both North and South American soccer, the tournament has now been recognized by the sport’s highest powers: FIFA.
FIFA announced on Monday that the FIFA Executive Committee approved the addition of the tournament, which is set to be played from June 3-26, to the FIFA Events Calendar. The addition means that participating nations will be able to call on players from around the world, ensuring national teams can field the best squads possible.
“With its addition to the FIFA Calendar, the historic Centennial Cup America in 2016 is now set to be the most important full national team tournament hosted in the Americas since this year’s FIFA World Cup,” CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said in a press release. “We want to thank FIFA, all Confederations and all others involved for their unconditional support in this process, making sure that this once in a lifetime celebration was treated with the respect that the players, football fans around the world and participating countries deserve.”
“Knowing that Copa America is the oldest national team tournament in the history of football,” added CONMEBOL President Juan Angel Napout, “it is an honor for us to have the event officially included in the international calendar and be able to celebrate the 100th anniversary of this event and the foundation of CONMEBOL.”
The 16-team field is set to include CONMEBOL’s 10 members – Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela – as well as the United States, Mexico, Costa Rica and three CONCACAF sides to be determined.
Before the 2016 tournament, the Copa America will take place in 2015 in Chile, where Uruguay will look to defend their crown and win a record 16th title.
What do you think of FIFA’s addition of the Copa America to their official calendar? Which teams are you looking forward to seeing? How will the U.S. fare in the tournament?
Share your thoughts below.