USA To Become Permanent Host Of Copa America

According to multiple reports, the United States is slated to become the permanent host of the Copa America.

There are rumors that the Gold Cup will merge with the Copa America, but no official word had come down yet.

Justino Compean, former president of the Mexican Soccer Federation, all but confirmed to ESPN FC that it was a done deal. Loosely translated, his words are:

The Copa America will be played every four years in the United States.

Justino Compean, former president of Mexican Soccer Federation

His original quote:

La Copa América se jugaría cada cuatro años en Estados Unidos

Justino Compean, former president of Mexican Soccer Federation

 

This is definitely good news for American and Mexican soccer fans. It seems as though we’ve been granted perennial access to the best tournament in the Western Hemisphere. I want nothing more than for the United States to have to opportunity to play meaningful competition outside of the World Cup.

But it also seems like a shameless money grab.

Don’t get me wrong: I think it’s great that the USA and Mexico get to play in the Copa América Centenario. It makes sense, both soccer wise and dollar wise.

The United States has the infrastructure to host the Copa America that some countries simply don’t have. World class stadiums, freedom of movement and expression, and paying customers to fill stadiums. The 1994 World Cup remains the highest attended World Cup in history.

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You probably won’t get a lot of sellout crowds in Venezuela.

But to host every future Copa America in the United States seem like a hostile takeover. The Copa América has been a South American thing for a hundred years. To move the tournament permanently out of South America would be a disservice to the tournament and its legacy.

I wholeheartedly believe that the inclusion of North American teams (read: U.S. and Mexico) is a good thing for the tournament.

North America is a wonky continent. Given it’s geographic composition and political boundaries, it’s a bit redundant to have a “North America only” tournament. And the dollars are here. The US has 320 million people and Mexico has another 120 million. That’s a lot of soccer fans.

There’s gotta be a middle ground here. Maybe the Copa switches off between North and South America every four years.

Uruguayan fan “gastonpenerol” had an idea to temper the idea of a combined Copa America/Gold Cup that’s hosted permanently in the US:

If they’re gonna merge the cups then merge the qualifiers. Then we’ll see how much they like that idea.

gastonpenerol, Uruguayan fan

Including the United States and Mexico in future iterations of the Copa América is a good idea.

Rebranding it into a USA-centric tournament is not.