The eyes of the world will be focused on MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford on Sunday, June 26, when the facility hosts the championship of the historic 2016 COPA America Centenario. Two additional matches will also be played at the Stadium during this once-in-a-lifetime event: a quarterfinal on Friday, June 17, and a first-round game on Sunday, June 12.
The tournament kicks off in California on June 3.
“We are honored that Copa America Centenario has selected the New York/New Jersey region for this historic event that will showcase MetLife Stadium as a world-class venue for sports and entertainment,” said Brad Mayne, President and CEO of MetLife Stadium. “These games will be an unforgettable experience for the fans.”
The 2016 COPA America Centenario includes some of the world’s best teams and players and is one of the most prestigious international soccer tournaments. This year COPA America is being held outside of South America for the first time in its 100-year history. The 16-team competition is expected to be the biggest soccer tournament hosted in the USA since the 1994 World Cup.
“We look forward to welcoming the teams and their fans from across the globe as they celebrate the 100th anniversary of this momentous event,” said Wayne Hasenbalg, President and CEO of the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority. “Hosting three games including the final will strengthen both the regional and local economies and allow us to showcase the Meadowlands’ extensive hotels, restaurants and retail.
MetLife Stadium, which seats 82,500, has hosted a number of significant international soccer matches since opening in 2010, including a pair of U.S. national team games against five-time World Cup champion Brazil and then No. 1-ranked Argentina, and the 2011 and 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals. On June 9, 2012, the Brazil-Argentina match drew the largest soccer crowd in New Jersey history (81,994).
The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and the South American Football Confederation (CONMEBOL) have partnered for the historic 2016 Copa America Centenario, setting a new standard for inter-confederation cooperation in the Americas and worldwide.
This tournament will help evolve and spread the world’s game in North America. The 2016 Copa America Centenario will have a high number of elite level teams participating. Eight of the 16 teams made it to the Round of 16 in the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
The event will feature all 10 South American nations: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela; and six CONCACAF nations: USA, Mexico, Costa Rica, Jamaica, Haiti and Panama. Some of the many superstars competing include Messi (Argentina), Neymar (Brazil), David Luiz (Brazil), James Rodriguez (Colombia), Kaka (Brazil), Michael Bradley (U.S.A.) and Clint Dempsey (U.S.A).
The full schedule of match-ups will be determined at the Official Draw on February 21. The four groups are headed by host United States, Argentina, Brazil and Mexico. The seeding determination for the draw is based on the December 2015 FIFA World Rankings.
In addition to MetLife Stadium, matches will be held in Chicago (Soldier Field), Foxborough, Ma. (Gillette Stadium), Glendale, Az. (University of Phoenix Stadium), Houston (NRG Stadium), Orlando (Orlando Citrus Bowl Stadium), Pasadena, Ca. (Rose Bowl), Philadelphia (Lincoln Financial Field), Santa Clara, Ca. (Levi’s Stadium), and Seattle (Century Link Field).
Each venue will host matches on multiple days through the tournament. Most venues will host at least three games. Chosen from among 24 candidates that originally submitted bids earlier this year, the stadiums passed rigorous standards—including minimum seating capacity of 60,000 and other world-class infrastructure requirements—in order to host matches of this high-profile tournament which is sure to draw multitudes of fans to venues across the country.
Hasenbalg, of the NJSEA, is co-chair of the event’s Host Committee, along with Fred Dixon, NYC & Company President and CEO. Due to the magnitude of the COPA America Centenario, the State of New Jersey and the City of New York have joined forces to form the Committee, creating a powerful network of local and state agencies working together to provide tourism, marketing and governmental support on both sides of the Hudson River.
The New York/New Jersey Host Committee will include representatives from the New Jersey Sports and Exposition Authority, NYC & Company, Meadowlands Regional Chamber, MetLife Stadium, New York Jets, New York Football Giants, New Meadowlands Racetrack, New York Red Bulls, New York Cosmos, and New York City FC. The Host Committee will support the efforts of the Local Organizing Committee, formed by tournament host U.S. Soccer, who are responsible for certain logistical and organizational facets of the competition.
Tickets for Copa America Centenario are now on sale. Fans can purchase tickets at CA2016.com, at ticketmaster.com, or by calling Ticketmaster at 800-745-3000. Due to the expected high demand for this premium soccer tournament, fans are urged to purchase early to guarantee their tickets.
You can keep up-to-date on 2016 COPA America Centenario news at CA2016.com, on the tournament’s Facebook page, Copa America Centenario 2016, and by following the event’s Twitter account, @CA2016. For more information on MetLife Stadium, visit metlifestadium.com.