The next major step for the Copa America Centenario took place Sunday with the 16-team draw for the most monumental soccer tournament to be held in the United States since the FIFA World Cup in 1994.
This year's enhanced rendition, which marks the tournament's 100th anniversary, will be the first Copa America to be held outside South America.
Here is a look at the tournament's draw, which will run from June 3 to June 26:
|Group A||Group B||Group C||Group D|
Source: ESPN FC
And here is a look at the schedule for group play:
|June 3||United States vs. Colombia||Santa Clara, California|
|June 4||Costa Rica vs. Paraguay||Orlando, Florida|
|June 7||United States vs. Costa Rica||Chicago|
|June 7||Colombia vs. Paraguay||Pasadena, California|
|June 11||United States vs. Paraguay||Philadelphia|
|June 11||Colombia vs. Costa Rica||Houston|
|June 4||Haiti vs. Peru||Seattle|
|June 4||Brazil vs. Ecuador||Pasadena, California|
|June 8||Brazil vs. Haiti||Orlando, Florida|
|June 8||Ecuador vs. Peru||Glendale, Arizona|
|June 12||Ecuador vs. Haiti||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|June 12||Brazil vs. Peru||Foxborough, Massachusetts|
|June 5||Jamaica vs. Venezuela||Chicago|
|June 5||Mexico vs. Uruguay||Glendale, Arizona|
|June 9||Mexico vs. Jamaica||Pasadena, California|
|June 9||Uruguay vs. Venezuela||Philadelphia|
|June 13||Mexico vs. Venezuela||Houston|
|June 13||Uruguay vs. Jamaica||Santa Clara, California|
|June 6||Panama vs. Bolivia||Orlando, Florida|
|June 6||Argentina vs. Chile||Santa Clara, California|
|June 10||Chile vs. Bolivia||East Rutherford, New Jersey|
|June 10||Argentina vs. Panama||Chicago|
|June 14||Chile vs. Panama||Philadelphia|
|June 14||Argentina vs. Bolivia||Seattle|
Each group's top two teams will advance to the eight-team knockout round.
In Group A, the U.S. drew two teams that competed in the 2014 World Cup—Colombia and Costa Rica—and another that competed in the 2010 World Cup—Paraguay—in what looks to be the tournament's toughest group.
Costa Rica and Paraguay were the toughest draws from Pods 3 and 4, according to the Soccer Power Index (h/t ESPN Stats & Info), while Colombia was the second-toughest from Pod 2.
Paul Carr of ESPN Stats & Info outlined the Soccer Power Index numbers for each group, with Group A ranked the toughest:
Average Soccer Power Index rank by group:— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) February 22, 2016
Sunday's draw set the Americans up for a daunting summer. Ben Higgins of 10 News in San Diego joked that the team might have a luckier draw at the event's next century mark:
Tough draw for Team USA in Copa America Centenario. Maybe they'll have better luck in 2116.— Ben Higgins (@BenHigginsSD) February 22, 2016
Mark Zeigler of the San Diego Union-Tribune noted the U.S. got no home-field advantage Sunday:
Well, I guess the Copa America Centenario draw wasn't rigged in favor of host nation. US draw: Colombia, Costa Rica, Paraguay. #earlyexit— Mark Zeigler (@sdutzeigler) February 22, 2016
The Copa America Centenario will feature big stars on U.S. soil, as Lionel Messi will "likely captain Argentina," and Neymar should participate for Brazil, according to Sam Stejskal of MLSsoccer.com. MLS should also have a sizable presence on several teams.
USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann met with the media after and shared his thoughts on the draw, per ESPN FC:
"It's a very difficult group, but it's a doable, and this is what Copa America is about," Klinsmann said. "You want to measure yourself with the best teams from South American and also our region. So we can't wait to get it started."
"We are very ambitious. We want to do well. We will do well. But, again, it's not an easy group. We know that too."