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Report: Copa America, Gold Cup to merge; to be held in U.S.


The Copa America Centenario may not be a once in a lifetime opportunity for the U.S.

ESPN is reporting that negotiations between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF are nearly complete as the two federations look to merge the Copa America and Gold Cup into one tournament. The tournament would reportedly be held every four years in the U.S. Discussions have reportedly been ongoing for at least a year.

“CONMEBOL asked to give their response after the [Copa America Centenario] tournament,” a CONCACAF official said, according to ESPN. “But today, they are convinced that [at] the next [CONMEBOL] Congress, it will be approved.’’

The two confederations believe a U.S.-hosted tournament makes sense logistically for both parties. A combined tournament would see the two confederations take full advantage of U.S. infrastructure while also benefitting the two sides economically.

The Copa America has been held every four years since 2007, with the next two editions of the tournament scheduled for Brazil in 2019 and Ecuador in 2023. The Gold Cup has generally stuck to two-year intervals and has been hosted by the U.S.

What do you think of the report? How would a combined tournament work? Are you for or against the idea?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This feels to me like the Mexico/US joint WC bid, a story floated by the lesser Mexico/CONCACAF to try to pressure the stronger US/CONMEBOL in the court of public opinion to accept the deal.

  2. I am sure all of the concerns you guys have are addressed. The will probably expand the tournament to 20 or 18 to add concacaf teams and also keep some type of regional tournament to qualify for the tournament like in the euros. Many more games that if it was just Gold Cup or Copa America. It will be great. No one will complain. More money better play better World Cup.

    • Venezuela vs Jamaica and Bolivia vs Panama, should have shown us we don’t need to add any teams to the tournament. Yes, TnT or Honduras could fit in in place of say Haiti or Panama, but we wouldn’t need more than 6 Concacaf teams in the tournament. Do you want to see a group stage match with Argentina vs St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Brazil vs Cuba, and Belize vs Chile? Top 6 from each region (WC qualifying) and let there be a playoff for the final four if you need to have a qualifying tournament.

  3. So the next two Copa Americas are 2019 in Brazil and 2023 in Ecador. How about starting in 2021 the “Copa PanAmerica” would be held in the US every 4 years. Then the Gold Cup could also be held every 4 years as well as rotating different hosts (i.e. 2017: Mexico and 2023: Canada). There could be co-hosts too (Costa Rico & Panama; Honduras & El Salvador; or Jamaica, Haiti, and Cuba).

    • Way too many tournaments. I like the idea of one Copa America and that’s it, every four years the year after the world cup.

  4. It’s easy to forget how many official FIFA countries are apart of CONCACAF. It’s like 35 or something, and on top of that, UNCAF and the Caribbean Union have smaller tournaments to qualify teams for the bigger tournaments. All of that would probably be considered with regards to qualifying teams for the joint Copa, but it’s possible that it could be a 32 team tournament. Not likely since the smaller nations are less likely to draw enough fans to the stadiums, but still possible…

  5. Exciting been dreaming this would happen , still shocked the US is competing in a Copa America

    I hope the same is done with Copa Libertadores So MLS teams grow even if we take a beating Mirror it exaclty to champions league with group stages to save on travel and move it away from the compressed schedule.

  6. As a Canadian, I really, really like the idea of a combined tournament. There’s enormous benefits to both confederations on this. My only concern is the idea of the US being the only host. The tournament should be down in South America sometimes. Mexico and Canada are also qualified to host (Canada may not have as many large stadiums as the US, but given that there’s been a ton of games with only 9000 people so far I don’t see that being an issue). Plus, I would think the US (for World Cup style preparation purposes) would want to occasionally play in another major tournament on foreign soil.

    As others have said, I could see them sticking with a Gold Cup one year (to help benefit most of the smaller CONCACAF countries) while still participating in an expanded Copa as opposed to the second Gold Cup.

  7. I really like the idea… for me personally the Gold Cup was never that big of a deal and the fact that it took place every 2 years seems to really dilute the quality of play. The idea of having a impactful tournament with quality teams from South America every 4 years in between World Cups and Confederation Cups sounds like it’s win/win for all involved.

    With the number of teams in both confederations, expanding from 16 to 24 teams so Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Canada, Panama, T&T have a chance to participate wouldn’t be out of the questions, specially since I’m certain it would make more money.

    As far as player development, it would be great if the full tournament was profitable enough to fully fund a U19 or 21 Youth Copa America.

  8. this is great. i’m shocked at it, but excited. gives me a huge jolt for the current tournament!

    curious about qualifying, off-year Gold Cup, and confeds cups berths.

    on the first…will they do? how big do they plan to make it? could go a few ways and all of them are intriguing.

    on the second…will the off-year Gold Cup still happen and continue to be a B-team tournament? Under a new name maybe? I would assume no because CA qualification would have to take place.

    on the third…both finalists go to Confeds Cup?

  9. Next logical step is to join the federations together…

    Also, people are commenting about qualifying, but who says they don’t plan on expanding beyond 16 teams?

    • That’s a good point. Although it it’s 16 it could just be the ten SA countries and the six from the previous hex. That would eliminate any need for qualifying. I think keeping it the year after the world cup makes sense to avoid conflicts with the Olympics.

      • I still think we would qualify most of the time if there were still 81/2 spots available. That said, I don’t think there is talk about merging the federations at this point.

  10. This sounds too good to be true. It’s hard for me to believe CONMEBOL is simply going to wave their tournament goodbye just for better gate receipts in the US. I could see them maybe alternating between North and South America, but it’s hard to imagine that they would just give it up like that after a century. Unless someone can tell me that they tournament was dying a slow death and they think this is the best way to save it…?

    I’d be thrilled if the USMNT just got invited to all future Copa Americas. That would be a huge boost in competition. But if this is real, I’m blown away.

  11. If we get to host the Copa Panamerica (TM) [ you are welcome UCLA] on a permanent basis, would that reduce our chances of hosting a World Cup?

  12. So the country that cares the least about soccer in all of the Americas will permanently host the Copa America. Let’s move the NBA finals to Beijing. They are really starting to like basketball over there.

    • I think we care more than at least India and Pakistan. . . but they are very good at cricket and badminton.

    • This is kind of a nonsensical statement by you, but there is a lot of data out there for viewership ratings of the EPL, La Liga, the World Cup (and I’m sure the Euro’s) to debunk this theory that no one cares about the sport of soccer in our country.

      We have so many cultures here and front running fans that I think the more accurate statement would be: not that many people care about the USMNT (in comparison to other countries and their national team).

      If you think this country doesn’t care about the sport you’re not paying attention to the countless huge clubs (and leagues) that are trying to stake a claim in our market. It’s the wild west for the sport right now and anyone who matters is trying to gold mine the obvious profit.

      You’re trolling or out of touch.

      • I like soccer. A lot of Americans like soccer. But he’s not wrong. Shame to take it from SA and stage it here every four years. Merging is fine, but SA countries can host it too.

      • I’ve been a passionate fan of US soccer since the early 90’s. I was at the 94 World Cup and the MLS inaugural match. I’m a season ticket holder to an MLS team, and I watched the league back when it was painful to do so. I know exactly how much soccer has grown in this country.

        I don’t think you understand or respect the passion and history of soccer in South America. It’s the mecca for attacking soccer. It has 100 years of rich history and has produced the majority of the world’s best attacking players: Pele, Maradona, Garrincha, Zico, Romario, Kaka, Rivaldo, Ronaldo (de lima), Ronaldinho, Messi…

        On the contrary, the US is just starting to respect soccer. We have about 100 years of history, pain, and glory before we are a real soccer country.

        I was at the USA Colombia game. There were more Colombia fans there and they were way louder. Would that happen at a home game in any South American country?

      • The US is an immigrant nation bt definition and California is like a little US of the US. Only half of Californians are white americans. everyone else has a hyphen. Think about it. CONMEBOL controlled ticket sales for this event so they decided where and how to sell them and less than half the attendees were Colombians.

  13. Have a regular gold cup that determines the top 6 CONCACAF teams to go to this Super Copa America (No guaranteed placement USA and Mex). Then the two finalists for this Super Copa America should advance to the Confederations Cup……..regardless of confederation. That’s how you make this the biggest soccer event in the western hemisphere.

  14. Maybe a rising tide of soccer lifts all boats, but MLS might be a bit concerned that its summer schedule will be carved up every four years by a major higher-level tournament also played in the US.

    • It will shine a light on how much work they need to do but it will also give them a showcase of their leagues (naturally since they are on national teams) best players.

  15. Is there going to be a qualification processes? Hopefully the south American sides don’t just always get an automatic spot. However it sounds like the US will always get one.

  16. One thing I’ll be interested in, is whether the pricing is brought down to a more reasonable amount for a more regular event. I’ve bailed on watching this in person because we’re talking $100s for tickets, and we in Houston rarely get the USA, didn’t this time. Last time I watched Gold Cup here you could get in the stadium for $35-50.

    • I also had considerable sticker shock when I saw the price points for the games in Soldier Field – Chicago. $700 per ticket to see Argentina v. Panama in the lower bowl, but still $250+ in the upper bowls. Wow. . . I am cheap, but I couldn’t believe the prices.

    • I have 2 tickets to all of the games in Philly. Paid under $400 for all 6. Came out to about $65 per ticket, including the US MNT game. Not too bad out here.

  17. This is a horrible idea for the USMNT and a great one for US Soccer. Lots of $$$ for Soccer House, but the USMNT would be better served by a tournament hosted by multiple countries every 4 years. The US, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, and probably Canada, Chile, Uruguay and Paraguay could all host 16-team tournaments. A Copa America qualifying campaign would be great the USMNT as well.

    Imagine this:
    2022 – World Cup Qatar (ugh!)
    2023 – CA qualifying
    2024 – Copa America in Argentina! (Capt. Matt Miazga lifting the trophy in La Bombonera!)
    2025 – World Cup Qualifying
    2026 – World Cup USA 2026 (our 250th year)

    There are 45 FIFA members between CONCACAF and CONEMBOL, plus 6 countries that a CONCACAF members but not FIFA members. Have the 6 non-FIFA members play in the the main qualifying for 48 teams. 8 groups of 6, top 2 from each group make the Copa America.

    That would be the best outcome for the USMNT. Of course, that means it will never happen.

    • I don’t think qualifying would be the worst thing to happen to us first two years of the cycle. Some games that matter might bring some focus to all the farting around we typically do experimenting that half the cycle.

      But remember as host we may be given a pass.

      • Hopefully we are not a permanent host. I didn’t think about the host getting a free pass. Looks like we could have 7 groups of 8 and 1 group of 7 to determine qualifiers.

  18. I wonder how Confed Cup participants will be decided now? Unless this will be played in the years in between Copa Americas and the GC format will stay the same. Pretty much means every summer will have a competitive tournament in it.

  19. What about Confederations Cup entry?

    Seems to me the smart thing would be

    2018 World Cup
    2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup with Confed Cup entry for winners (Also CONMEBOL Copa America with Confed Cup entry for winners)
    2020 Whatever this new CONCACAF / CONMEBOL tournament will be called
    2021 Confederations Cup

    • Yes exactly this. I brought this up before and called it the PanAmerican Cup. Copa Panamericana. ::Runs to try and trademark name::

  20. Rob- I did a quick Expedia experiment to explore your point on travel. Someone traveling by plane from Chile to Venezuela, or, Brazil round-trip are only paying a few hundred dollars less each compared to Chile to JFK roundtrip. I wouldn’t call that a HUGE difference, but I would agree continental travel now occurs and there is an up-tick in expense. And, we are a nation of immigrants. The Columbia game alone was impressive with how many Columbians here are nationwide. #meltingpotproud 🙂

      • Rob how far is it from one stadium that isn’t built yet to another that isn’t built yet? How will they fill those stadiums on a regular basis post tournament? Pipe down poopy pants.

      • I dunno. Flight from one end of Chile to the other is further than Iquique to Miami. Just sayin’.

    • You also have to factor in that we tend to spread out the hosting fun and as a result it’s done like World Cups, your team might be in 3 different cities for group stage, all across the country, and then maybe even 3 more for each round of knockouts. Not like it is done fan-friendly in one place for a few games. So to see 3 Brazil games it’s Brazil to LA, LA to Phoenix, Phoenix to Boston. Win that group it’s NY, Chicago, and back to NY. Finish second it’s Houston and Seattle before NY.

      I’m also going to be interested if SAm goes along with certain subtle favoritisms like how Mexico has typically played in places like Houston. We never get the USA here and Mexico is always here.

      • It’s not really favoritism, it’s a money decision. If playing Mexico in Houston makes more money then that’s what we should expect to happen same with the US in Columbus. After all, that’s why they moved the Copa to the US.

      • If you stop at playing it in the US, that’s vaguely neutral except for us. But if you deliberately assign certain countries certain groups/locations for ticket sales, which effectively becomes a home field, that’s not neutral. For Gold Cup, Houston always gets Mexico because of its massive Mexican population, Houston never gets the USA. If we get a friendly down here it usually involves Mexico versus USA and is almost like a road game. I am unsure how cool a Chile type will be if they are set up for a de facto road match in a regional tournament. To be fair the locations need to be random and not money driven, and that might have the side benefit of me occasionally getting to watch the USA down here.

    • Travel within SoAm is frickin’ brutal. Try going from Santa Cruz, Bolivia to Recife, Brazil. Or from Cartagena, Colombia to Lima. Sure, going from capital to capital is fine, or massive city to massive city, but getting to and from these regional airports SUCKS. I’ve actually booked flights from northern SoAm back to Miami, and then back down to another country. It’s typically cheaper, way more comfortable, way more predictable, and less stress.

  21. Dude, absolutely massive… a great day… and they don’t even have to do it in the US all the time… they could alternate (one year in, one year out) and it would still be massive. I have just been hoping for a merged Copa America for years, so this is awesome!

  22. I think they will change the location after the second time, but this is amazing that we finally have this tournament all the time.

    • For a U.S. fan and U.S. TV viewer perspective, yeah, it’s great. From the SA supporter and country perspective, it’s a complete sell out. I fine with them merging, but it doesn’t have to be here in the U.S. every four years.

      And at the prices they’re charging, it will continue to be empty seats in many stadiums. Nobody here will care about Haiti vs Peru. And who in some of these countries can afford to go? It’s just another shyster COMENBOL and CONCACAF money grab, like this whole tournament.

      COMENBOL and CONCACAF merging for anything is like a Big Oil or Pharma merger. Gross.

    • I want fair trade non-gmo locally-sourced hipster approved handlebar moustache football played at Bernie Sanders rallies, not this massive tournament with several of the worlds best teams that raises the profile of the sport and the quality of play in the US. Never mind the fact that it exposes South American players to the US and MLS, increasing the likelihood that players will see the league as a destination.

      It’s everything we ever wanted for soccer in the US, but….WAAAAAAAHHHHH!

      Will the whiners ever stop?

    • If the Copa America is revamped to include North, Central, and South America that doesn’t necessarily leave the Caribbean teams out in the cold.

      CONMEBOL and CONCACAF aren’t merging, so each confederation could still have qualifying tournaments the same way they do now for their own regional tournaments. Obviously the US would benefit most as they would receive an automatic bid every tournament as hosts, but it could really give the smaller Caribbean nations (and Canada) a chance to write their own Cinderella stories.

      Less tournaments will be a blow, but it’s a good trade to have a competition to compete with the Euro and ACoN.

  23. No hyperbole: From a long term perspective – this is game changing for the sport in our country.

    I’m speechless because it makes complete sense for everyone involved.

    • Except for the millions of South American fans that will never be able to make the trip to the US to watch their team play in Copa America.
      Screw them. That’s what they get for not being wealthy

      • I knew Rob the America hater would be apoplectic about this. On the plus side, now you can watch your heros, El Tri, more often.

      • You could say the same thing about the Gold Cup and how we have routinely hosted it for decades with maybe one shared tournament. As I understand it part of the rationale would be that we will pay their share of the gate on time and in the percentage promised. We would get an improved event to host. We would get better mid-cycle competition, although having lost in the semis to Jamaica, that might be an arrogant way of seeing it.

        The fans of all the “road teams” lose out, although their federations might get better funded.

        I will be interested how qualifying is handled, whether teams like those that populated this event are privileged over the second tier and below as was done with this event — many automatics and few open spots to take among the big soccer nations — or whether it’s like the Euros, a mix of ranking and random with a potted draw, into groups where at least on paper everyone has an equal shot.

        Further irony would be that we could probably stand a second qualifying campaign of games that count and probably won’t get it as host.

        I also think it would be a sad irony if the 100th year tournament is the last of its sort. This won’t be the last Indy 500 in its 100th year.

      • I mean if you are a team like Canada or Guatemala (or their fans), one might start whether they will lose the modest foothold they had in Gold Cup.

      • I need more information. Does this new tournament replace the Copa America and both Gold Cups? It looks like it, so yea South Americans will be very unhappy and so will some Concacaf nations. We already know all the positives, especially for the Usmnt, so let’s look at some of the negatives:

        1. Less tournament soccer. We go from 2 Gold Cups and 1 Copa America to just 1 tournament.
        2. What about the other Concacaf teams? If teams like Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Trini n Tobago, Panama, Haiti, Jamaica etc had a hard enough time getting to the Gold Cup, then how will they qualify for this Pan-Am cup? This will hurt those teams. You can say, “well they aren’t good enough so too bad” but remember that this current tournament had 12 guaranteed spots just gifted to teams, with only 4 spots left to be earned. That would need to change. No automatic qualifiers.

        I still think my idea is better. 1 traditional Gold Cup (instead of the current 2), and 1 Pan Am Cup with Concacaf plus Conmebol. I will leave it up to Conmebol if they still want to keep their traditional Copa America in addition to the Pan-Am cup.

      • My guess is they’ll have it in the US perhaps 2 or 3 times. Establish the marketing, TV deals ect to compete with the Euros then they can move around the host again.

      • Jack: Possibly in theory but at least one reason it is coming here, as with Gold Cup, is to ensure the competing countries get paid. One of the tensions in Gold Cup has been that the federations by giving up their chance to host could make free money by their gate cut in the USA.

        Are we the honest broker, or does this have the potential where we are promoting corruption by providing a steady stream of USD to these countries’ federation leaders, in exchange for us making money as hosts. I mean the very idea of us hosting their 100th South American tournament anniversary struck me as absurd and money driven.

      • Millions of Americans did not have the money to travel to Brazil for the WC in 2014 either (I was one).

        I do not think that the Gold Cup in the US and the Copa in SA will be replaced completely.
        There will still need to be a confederation only championship as this is required by FIFA. But the new tournament of Conmebol and Concacaf will be held every four years, most likely 2 years between WC years and while the US may be the prime location, I think Mexico, Canada and Some big SA nations will want a piece of this. Do not forget that Concacaf have all the minnows in the Caribbean an CA that were not invited,or did not qualify for this Copa. They all have to have a voice too.

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