The 2016 Copa America Centenario has been talked about quite a bit, both as a potentially thrilling event and due to its involvement in the ongoing investigation of FIFA corruption. One thing that seemed guaranteed was that, like every other major soccer tournament for pretty much ever, the Copa would be stopping in the capital region. Almost certainly not in DC proper, and probably not the nearest large stadium to the District, but at the very least a modest drive up the B/W Parkway to Baltimore. Right?
Well, about that. ESPN FC had previously reported that 10 of the 12 hosts had already been determined, and our region's three largest stadiums - RFK Memorial Stadium, Fedex Field, and M&T Bank Stadium - were not on the list. It didn't seem like a big deal at the time, but yesterday CONMEBOL sprung a bit of a surprise on everyone: The 10 venues that were confirmed a week or so ago are the full list of Centenario hosts. The DMV was left out entirely.
Local fans are surely not surprised that RFK was left off the list. Technically it didn't even merit consideration, as CONMEBOL required all venues to seat 60,000, but we all knew coming in that RFK was not getting any games in this tournament. It's not really a shock that Fedex Field was left off the list either. It's a horrible venue for all human activities, and it appears to be located in a pocket where time and space don't work as they should. Fedex is over an hour from everywhere, and everyone is miserable there.
M&T Bank Stadium may be a haul for a big chunk of this area's fans, but it's the newest of the area's potential hosts and is better in pretty much every way than Fedex Field. CONMEBOL's decision to leave what is a completely reasonable host out makes this the first time since the 1999 US Cup that a major men's tournament played in the US has not come to the area.
Here is the complete list of host venues:
Gillette Stadium (Boston)
Soldier Field (Chicago)
NRG Stadium (Houston)
Rose Bowl (Pasadena, CA)
MetLife Stadium (East Rutherford, NJ)
Citrus Bowl (Orlando)
Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)
University of Phoenix Stadium (Phoenix)
Levi's Stadium (Santa Clara, CA)
CenturyLink Field (Seattle)