2016 Copa America to be played in U.S.

October 24, 2012
By ESPN.com news services

South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL will hold a special Copa America tournament in 2016 in the United States to commemorate the organization's 100th year.

CONMEBOL said at a meeting of its executive committee in the Argentine capital Wednesday that the tournament would include the 10 South American confederation teams, plus the United States, Mexico and four others from the CONCACAF region, which comprises North and Central America and the Caribbean.

The event will take place between the 2015 and 2019 Copa America tournaments.

CONMEBOL said in a statement that the four CONCACAF teams would be added according to their rankings in the Gold Cup, the CONCACAF regional championship.

CONMEBOL said the event will be played in July, but offered few other details. It's the first time the event will be played outside South America and could be a huge financial success showcasing Brazil and Argentina to North American fans.

Lionel Messi, Sergio Aguero, Neymar, Oscar and Radamel Falcao are among the international stars who could represent South American teams.

Lionel Messi netted a brace for Argentina
GettyImagesLionel Messi is among the stars who would likely play in the special U.S.-hosted Copa America 2016.

The event will follow the 2016 European Championship in France, which will be expanded to 24 teams for the first time.

CONMEBOL also said Japan and Mexico will play in the 2015 Copa America as guest teams.

Uruguay won the 2011 Copa America, which was played in Argentina.

CONCACAF, which represents North and Central America and the Caribbean, holds its Gold Cup championship in odd-numbered years. Since 2007, South America's Copa America has been held every four years in the summers following World Cups. There have been two outside invitees since 1993, mostly from CONCACAF.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.