Messi in New Jersey: Fourteen US host cities selected for 2024 Copa América

Messi in New Jersey: Fourteen US host cities selected for 2024 Copa América
Messi in New Jersey: Fourteen US host cities selected for 2024 Copa América

Fourteen US cities will play host to the Copa América next summer, with the semi-finals in East Rutherford, New Jersey, and Charlotte ahead of the 14 July championship in Miami.

The US men’s national team will be in Group C and open at Arlington, Texas, on 23 June then play in Atlanta four days later and Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on 1 July.

The governing bodies of South America and of North and Central America and the Caribbean made the announcement on Monday, filling in the cities that will be part of the 16-team tournament.

The quarter-finals will be held on 4 July at NRG Stadium in Houston; 5 July at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas; and 6 July at State Farm Stadium in Glendale, Arizona, and Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas.

The semi-finals will be in New Jersey’s MetLife Stadium on 9 July and Charlotte’s Bank of America Stadium the next day. The third-place game will be in Charlotte on 13 July, the eve of the final.

The draw is set for Thursday in Miami. This will be only the second time the Copa América has been held outside South America since the inaugural tournament in 1916.

“These venues are world-class and have passionate fans who are renowned for getting behind major events,” Concacaf president Victor Montagliani said in a statement.

Conmebol and Concacaf announced last month that the 20 June opening game will be at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, while south Florida’s Hard Rock Stadium landed the final.

Reigning Copa América and World Cup champion Argentina, led by Inter Miami’s Lionel Messi, have been placed in Group A and will play in the Atlanta opener, as well as East Rutherford five days later and Miami Gardens on 29 June.

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The other sites revealed on Monday: SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, California; Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, California; Exploria Stadium in Orlando, Florida; Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas; and a smaller facility in the Kansas City metro area: Children’s Mercy Park on the Kansas side of the border.

Mexico open in Houston on 22 June, plays four days later at Inglewood and close the first round on 30 June at Glendale. Brazil head group D and have games in Inglewood on 24 June, Las Vegas four days later and Santa Clara on 2 July.

Eleven of the venues are best-known as NFL stadiums, ranging in size from 63,400-seat State Farm Stadium to 82,500-seat MetLife Stadium. The other three – 25,500-seat Exploria Stadium, 20,700-seat Q2 Stadium and 18,500-seat Children’s Mercy Park – are Major League Soccer facilities.

The tournament is expanding in 2024, with six teams from North America joining the usual 10 nations from South America that compete for the continental championship. The format mirrors the Copa América Centenario in 2016, the only previous time the tournament was staged outside South America.

“We will experience an unforgettable Copa América, enjoying the best football in the world in 14 magnificent stadiums,” said Alejandro Dominguez, the president of Conmebol.

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For the 2024 edition, the Conmebol regulars will be joined by six Concacaf qualifiers. The host United States, Mexico, Jamaica and Panama earned their spots by winning in the Nations League quarter-finals, while 23 March playoff games matching Costa Rica v Honduras and Canada v Trinidad and Tobago will determine the final two entrants.

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Two group-round games will be played at every site except for Charlotte – which has the pair of knockout matches – and the two Kansas City stadiums, which have one group game each.

MetLife Stadium, NRG Stadium, Levi’s Stadium and State Farm Stadium are the only returning stadiums from the 10 venues that were used for Copa América Centenario, though games also were held in Orlando (Camping World Stadium) and the Los Angeles area (Pasadena’s Rose Bowl).

Except for the Centenario tournament, Copa América hosting duties usually have rotated among the 10 Conmebol nations in South America. The arrangement called for Ecuador to host in 2024, but that country backed out because of security issues. The US stepped in to fill the void under a new partnership between Conmebol and Concacaf.

Eight of the 14 stadiums for the Copa América have already been picked as venues for the 2026 World Cup, which will be hosted by the US, Mexico and Canada. They are: MetLife Stadium, Hard Rock Stadium, Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Levi’s Stadium, SoFi Stadium, AT&T Stadium, NRG Stadium and Arrowhead Stadium.

Some of those venues could also be in the running for another major tournament that will be staged in the US in 2025 – the expanded Club World Cup featuring 32 teams.

Montagliani said holding two major competitions ahead of the World Cup will “cement our region as a global hub for football.”

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