Copa America Centenario will be played in 10 cities across the United States in the summer of 2016. The organizing committee has announced the 10 host cities and stadiums for the event, spreading them across the country from coast to coast.
The stadiums cover most of the biggest cities in the U.S. with stadiums either in the city, or in the suburbs of the city. The west coast is represented with the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, CA, Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara, CA, CenturyLink Field in Seattle, WA and University of Phoenix in Glendale, AZ. The northeast is represented by MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ, Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, MA and Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia, PA.
With the west and northeast taken care of, organizers had just three venues left to choose, and with those to cover the remainder of the country. They could have gone to 12 venues, allowing for greater representation across the country, but that would be irregular for a 16-team tournament. In fact, having 10 host cities is already unusual.
Unsurprisingly, Texas is hosting. NRG Stadium in Houston, TX is an excellent soccer venue - although the playing surface can be a concern - and will host. Florida is also represented by the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, while Chicago's Soldier Field rounds out the field.
If there is a concern with the 10 hosts, it's that none are in the Mountain Time Zone, leaving out that part of the country, and that the midwest is represented only by Chicago. But with only 10 venues and a giant country, spreading the matches to each part without leaving off the biggest cities was always going to be a near impossible challenge.
The biggest problem could prove to be the playing surfaces. Gillette Stadium, MetLife Stadium, the Citrus Bowl and CenturyLink Field all have artificial turf and will presumably lay down temporary grass. Those surfaces have a host of problems and will be expected to stay playable for several matches over a span of anywhere from two weeks to a month. In addition, two other venues - NRG Stadium and Levi's Stadium - have had serious issues with their grass surfaces since the stadiums opened.
There is probably some surprise that no stadium in Washington, D.C. is hosting, but RFK Stadium isn't up to snuff, while there have always been issues with the size of a soccer field at FedEx Field. Miami would seem like a sure bet to host as well, but SunLife Stadium will be a construction zone as it undergoes renovations in the summer so that ruled it out.
Every stadium hosting seats at least 60,000 and with such a major tournament, filled with big stars, coming to the U.S., each match is expected to be a sellout. The atmospheres should be magnificent and the cities should be abuzz because nearly all venues will play host to at least three matches so it will build throughout the tournament.
The tournament will feature all 10 South American teams, with the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica joining them. The final two spots will be determined by a January playoff, where Trinidad and Tobago and Panama are favorites. Copa America will kick off on June 3 and finish with the final on June 26.
- Boston, Gillette Stadium
- Chicago, Soldier Field
- Houston, NRG Stadium
- Los Angeles, Rose Bowl
- New York, MetLife Stadium
- Orlando, Citrus Bowl
- Philadelphia, Lincoln Financial Field
- Phoenix, University of Phoenix Stadium
- San Francisco, Levi's Stadium
- Seattle, CenturyLink Field