Lionel Messi will not have to travel far if he and his Argentina teammates reach the final of the 2024 Copa America tournament next summer.
Organizers announced Monday that the championship match of the 107-year tournament, one of the oldest and most prestigious in the world, will be held at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens on July 14. The opening match will be June 20 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
Copa America is a quadrennial tournament that features all 10 national teams from South America: Argentina, Brazil, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay, Venezuela.
It is typically held in South America, but in 2024, it is being held in the United States as part of a strategic partnership between CONMEBOL, the South American soccer federation, and CONCACAF, the Miami-based regional federation for North and Central America and the Caribbean.
Six teams from CONCACAF will be included in the field based on results of the ongoing Nations League tournament. The United States, Mexico and Canada are among the favorites to secure a spot.
“We expect stadiums filled with the passion of the entire American continent for the inauguration and final of an unforgettable CONMEBOL Copa America,” said Alejandro Domínguez, president of CONMEBOL. “In Atlanta, the ball will start rolling and it won’t stop for a month until the final match in Miami. These are magnificent stadiums in wonderful cities. We are grateful for the valuable cooperation of the U.S. authorities and our friends from CONCACAF in the organization of this competition.”
The group stage draw takes place on Dec. 7 at 7:30 p.m. at the James L. Knight Center in downtown Miami. Teams will be seeded using their FIFA ranking.
Miami being selected as the host city for the Copa America final is the latest indicator that South Florida has become one of the epicenters of international soccer. Messi, the eight-time Ballon d’Or winner and World Cup champion, joined Inter Miami in July. FIFA recently opened a headquarters in Coral Gables that will house 300 employees, and CONCACAF headquarters are in downtown Miami. Also, Soccerex, a global soccer conference with 2,000 delegates, was held in Wynwood last week.
“We are proud to host the CONMEBOL Copa America 2024 final at Hard Rock Stadium,” said Tom Garfinkel, Vice Chairman, President and CEO of the Miami Dolphins and Hard Rock Stadium. “As a global entertainment destination, we strive to reflect the dynamic and international culture of Miami. This selection is thanks to the collaborative work of multiple stakeholders including Stephen Ross, CONCACAF, CONMEBOL and our local and national officials. We are excited to deliver an incredible world class experience for players and fans alike and highlight the passion of football in our community.”
Copa America 2024 will serve as a test run of sorts for U.S. host cities of the 2026 World Cup, which is being co-hosted by the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The timing of Copa America, at the midpoint of the World Cup cycle, provides participating teams with high-quality international competition just as Euro 2024 will do for the national teams in Europe.
“Atlanta and Miami will prove excellent hosts for these flagship matches, and I congratulate both cities and their sports commissions. The two venues are world-class, and the cities have passionate sports and football fans renowned for getting behind major events,” said Victor Montagliani, CONCACAF President and FIFA Vice President.
Copa America last came to the United States in the summer of 2016 for the special 100-year centennial celebration of the event. That was the only other time it was held away from South American soil.
As part of the recent partnership between CONMEBOL and CONCACAF, which aims to improve soccer in both regions, four CONMEBOL guest women’s national teams will compete in the inaugural CONCACAF W Gold Cup in February and March 2024.
Fans interested in attending matches can sign up to stay up to date on Copa America news including ticket information and the general competition schedule on the tournament’s official website www.copaamerica.com