Copa America to play in U.S. for first time in history
Updated On: May 01 2014 07:09:32 PM EDT
It was standing room only Thursday for an announcement that should have soccer fans jumping out of their seats.
Copa America, an international soccer tournament older than the World Cup, will be celebrating its100th anniversary in June 2016 by playing in the United States for the first time in history.
"I think we're all dreamers,” former American soccer star Cobi Jones said. "I never imaged this would happen, that they'd be bringing Copa America north. You're going to see cultures from all over Central and South America take over cities and celebrate and party."
Event organizers said the Copa America will be the largest international event in the U.S. since the Winter Olympics in 2002.
CONCACAF President Jeffery Webb said hosting the event will bring big money to local economies.
"I believe the impact on the city of Miami for hosting the finals would be in the billions of dollars,” Webb said.
CONCACAF is the governing body of associated soccer in north and Central America and the Caribbean. They're partnering with CONMEBOL, the governing body of association soccer in South America, to make this tournament happen.
In the coming months, they'll begin accepting bids from cities interested in hosting, Webb expects Miami to take a shot.
"Miami has an advantage," Webb said. "Miami has a great advantage. It's the home of CONCACAF.”
Webb also promises that a battle over David Beckham's proposed Major League Soccer stadium at PortMiami would not impact how a potential bid is processed.
Sixteen nations will be invited. Copa America is usually played every four years. The next tournament will be in Chile in 2015. The 2016 event is a special one commemorating the 100th anniversary.