CONCACAF and CONMEBOL announced that a special edition of the quadrennial Copa America tournament will be in the United States celebrate the 100th anniversary in 2016. The Copa America is the oldest international football tournament in the world and predates the World Cup, which started in 1930, by fourteen years. It is usually a South American tournament that happens every four years and is scheduled for 2015 and 2019 but a special edition was added in 2016 to celebrate the anniversary.
As a part of the special edition, teams from outside South America have been invited to participate including the United States, Mexico, and four other teams that still must qualify. The tournament usually invites two teams from outside CONMEBOL but the special edition will allow for six outside teams. The list of invitees for previous tournaments includes countries such as Canada, Costa Rica, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Spain, and the United States. All of whom have participated at least once except for Canada and Spain. This time around, the six extra spots will be determined through a series of qualifiers.
According to FOX Sports, this is how the remaining four spots will be determined:
The United States and Mexico will qualify automatically, as will all 10 CONMEBOL members. They will be joined by the 2014 Copa Centroamericana winner and the 2014 Caribbean Cup winner. The four best teams from the 2015 Gold Cup who haven’t already qualified will meet each other in two-game playoffs to dispute the final two spots.
The main roadblock to having a successful tournament will be the fact that the 2016 Copa America is not currently on the FIFA calendar so many players may skip out because of club restrictions. If it does indeed get on the calendar then some of world football’s biggest stars may participate including Neymar, Edinson Cavani, and Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez. The interest in football in the United States is growing steadily and this would be a fine way to keep that going and expose the American fans to world class players and matches.
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