2016 Copa America Exhibits a Brilliant Opportunity for USA Soccer

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2016 Copa America Exhibits a Brilliant Opportunity for USA Soccer
Jamie Squire/Getty Images

The Copa America has long been considered to be one of the world's greatest international football tournaments.

In four years, the Copa America will extend its wings to North America. To celebrate the 100th anniversary of CONMEBOL, confederation officials decided yesterday for the 2016 Copa America to take place in the United States.

The tournament consists of all 10 South American nations with national teams, along with the top four North American sides outside of Mexico and the United States.

This will be the first time ever that the Copa America won't be on South American soil.

Historically, the Yanks have achieved a mixed bag of results. In 1993 and 2007, they failed to advance from the group stage. Meanwhile, the United States did reach the semifinals of the 1995 edition of the tournament, which is best remembered by the Yanks' 3-0 win over Argentina to win their group.

Four years from now, the Yanks will get to host arguably the best international tournament outside of the World Cup.

All ten national sides in South America will participate, giving American fans an opportunity that they have lacked since the 1994 World Cup: meaningful international matches between sides that are not in North America.

The closest that American fans have gotten to this experience is the Gold Cup, which happens every two years. But the Gold Cup has seen either Mexico or the United States win it 10 times since 1991.

Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images
Many Mexican stars from the squad that won gold in London will participate in this historic competition.
Only Canada in 2000 managed to break the indomitable streak that the two CONCACAF superpowers have enjoyed.

Although the fans will get to watch an outstanding football spectacle occur, it also provides great training for the U.S. national team.

This tournament will happen in a year where there is neither a Gold Cup nor a World Cup taking place. The only tournament that could affect these nations is the Olympics, but that will hardly impact these teams considering the squads mostly consist of under-23 players.

With no international tournaments taking place in either continent, all 16 nations should be able to bring out their best squads to partake in the historic tournament.

For the United States, these matches do provide a great measurement of where this squad is overall. CONCACAF's World Cup qualifiers will probably begin the month before the Copa America. Reports indicate that the tournament will take place in July 2016.

No matter what happens in this tournament, American soccer fans will be in for a treat, along with the American national team. The legacy that comes from this tournament will play itself out for years to come.

 

Follow me on Twitter @Andrew_Jordan

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