Chicago will be a part of one of the biggest soccer events in North American history.
It was announced Thursday that Soldier Field is one of the host venues for the 2016 Copa America Centenario. Usually the South American continental championship, next June’s tournament will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the first Copa America, taking place in 10 cities across North America.
The highly anticipated 16-nation tournament will include North American powers like the United States and Mexico, along with famous South American teams like Brazil, Argentina, Colombia and Uruguay to combine for one champion of the Americas.
“Football is the most marvelous sport in the world,” Juan Angel Napout, the president of the South American soccer governing body CONMEBOL, said in a news release. “For us, it’s truly a source of pride to be able to bring to the United States this unparalleled event – the Copa America Centenario – the oldest national team tournament in the world.”
Soldier Field will likely host multiple games in the tournament, though the final is expected to be played at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Despite that, the Centenario will arguably be the second-biggest soccer event to come to Chicago, behind only the 1994 World Cup and comparable to the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
“These 10 cities and venues will provide a fantastic setting for fans across the world to attend Copa America Centenario and allow them to see the amazing passion for soccer in the United States,” U.S. Soccer president Sunil Gulati said in a news release. “The participating teams and fans will be treated to a first-class environment in each city and stadium, adding to the world-class talent that will be competing on the field.”
Other than Chicago and East Rutherford, the announced hosts are Boston, Houston, Los Angeles, Orlando, Philadelphia, Phoenix, San Francisco, and Seattle.