The rumor that has often seemed too good to be true is officially a reality, as CONCACAF and CONMEBOL formally announced a joint Copa America to be played entirely on U.S. soil from June 3-26, 2016. The tournament will feature six CONCACAF countries -- including the United States and Mexico -- as well as the 10 CONMEBOL nations, marking the tournament's centennial celebration. CONCACAF nations have competed in previous Copa Americas, but never this many and never outside of South America.
"The Americas may have been discovered in 1492 by tourists, but I can't think of a better way to unite them than through football," CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said during the joint press conference.
The joint tournament will be the first of its kind and has been a project Webb has been working on almost literally since he assumed office in May 2012. Rumors have been hinting at its possibility virtually ever since.
"We did it in two years, but I understand why it has taken us 100 years to do this," Webb quipped.
With the broad details now decided, wrangling over the final points will start in earnest. The host cities will be determined through a bid process, which is sure to involve significant intrigue. Cities with large South American populations, easy international access and suitable stadiums will likely be the preference.
The tournament's dates don't overlap perfectly with the existing FIFA calendar -- the European championships are June 10-July 10 -- but the organizers will attempt to get that addressed in order to allow for full squad selections.
If everything goes well, this may be just the first of an expanded relationship between the two federations.
"We aren't going to want to wait another 100 years to do it," CONMEBOL President Eugenio Figuerido said. "We would love to have a permanent joining of forces."