Phoenix has been selected as one of 10 U.S. metro areas that will host the Copa America Centenario 2016, an international soccer tournament that will feature teams from 16 countries from across the Americas and Caribbean.
It is another in a string of major sporting events staged at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale. The College Football Playoff National Championship Game is less than two months away and the NCAA Men’s Basketball Final Four is coming to the Valley in 2017. They all follow the Pro Bowl and Super Bowl, which were played in Glendale earlier this year.
This summer marks the 100th anniversary of the Copa America and the first time that it is being played outside of South America.
In addition to Phoenix, the other areas selected to host the month-long tournament are the San Francisco Bay area; Chicago; Foxborough, Massachusetts; Houston; New York/New Jersey; Orlando, Florida; Pasadena, California; Philadelphia and Seattle.
Matches will be played from June 3 through June 26.
“The 10 host cities of Copa America Centenario 2016 will provide the perfect stage to unite the American continents in a unique celebration of the football history and talent in the CONCACAF and CONMEBOL regions,” Alfredo Hawit, president of CONCACAF, said in a news release.
CONCACAF is the governing body for soccer in North America, Central America and the Caribbean, while CONMEBOL is South America’s governing body for the sport.
“We are certain that the host country and the U.S. Soccer Federation, in their roles, will not only display the growing passion for the sport, but also contribute to expanding the legacy and magnitude of this tournament by providing a memorable experience for the whole footballing community,” Hawit’s statement said.
Phoenix was one of 24 candidates vying to be one of the 10 hosts. Atlanta, Baltimore, Denver and Dallas are among the candidates Phoenix beat out to host the event.
Each city will host games on several days throughout the tournament. According to U.S. Soccer, most will host at least three games.
“These 10 cities and venues will provide a fantastic setting for fans across the world to attend Copa America Centenario and allow them to see the amazing passion for soccer in the United States,” U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati said in a news release. “The participating teams and fans will be treated to a first-class environment in each city and stadium, adding to the world-class talent that will be competing on the field. We are looking forward to working closely with all of the cities and venues in hosting this prestigious event and creating an extraordinary experience for fans.”
The field will include the United States and Mexico as well Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Jamaica, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
The final two teams will be determined Jan. 8 when Trinidad and Tobago plays Haiti, and Panama takes on Cuba. The winners of those contests will fill the tournament’s final two slots.