Copa América is one of the world’s most revered continental soccer tournaments, and it will head to the United States to celebrate its 100th anniversary this June 3 to June 26. Sixteen teams from South, Central, and North America will vie for consideration as one of the best teams in the world. Here’s why we’re excited about it.
For the first time in its history, the Copa América tournament will take place outside South America. Typically reserved for Latin American nations, the tournament now includes North American and Central American teams like the United States and Jamaica. Ten metropolitan areas across the United States will host some of the world’s most talented players, and one of those cities is Philadelphia. Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Philadelphia Eagles, is going to be part of the biggest soccer event in America in decades.
Not only is Philadelphia lucky enough to score three games of the tournament, but one of those matches will feature the U.S. Men’s National Team. On Saturday, June 11th, the USMNT are slated to face Paraguay. The primetime matchup will be the third and final one of the U.S.’s group stage, after their games against Colombia and Costa Rica. The draw is a tough one for the USMNT, who will be challenged by the #4 team in the world in Costa Rica and the #25 team Costa Rica. The tournament is a great opportunity for U.S. fans to see high-profile matches on their home turf, and a great opportunity for sports fans of all kinds.
Besides the U.S.-Paraguay game, The Linc will host world-class stars on June 9th (Uruguay v. Venezuela) and June 14th (Chile v. Panama). Uruguay’s sensation Luis Suárez, who currently plays for Barcelona, will highlight the star-studded games in Philadelphia. Arsenal’s Alexis Sánchez and Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal, both Chilean, should provide highlight-reel skills and excitement. Local soccer enthusiasts can watch some of the world’s best footballers, which is a rare sporting gem in a country where soccer number one.
Lincoln Financial Field is a state-of-the-art football stadium, with all the great facilities needed for an enjoyable game. Head to “Prime Stache” for an authentic, local cheesesteaks (pro tip: always do the wiz and peppers on top) to complement game-watching. For BBQ favorites like pulled pork sandwiches, head to Basset’s. If you’re up to the challenge, try finishing the famous, gigantic “Schmitter” sandwich at the McNally’s Tavern tent in the north end zone.
There’s something special about tournaments featuring the national team in the same way that the World Cup and Olympics bring an added level of honor and pride for a nation’s player and fans. In the same fashion, tailgating for a U.S. match has extra energy, enthusiasm, and excitement. So grab your red, white, and blue gear and get ready for the festivities. The American Outlaws, a dedicated group of supporters that follows both the men’s and women’s teams around the country, is hosting a night-before party at 6pm on June 10th at Field House in Center City (just a ten minute walk from the Independent Hotel). The night of the USMNT match will include tailgating from the spirited group, so check their site for forthcoming details.