The Copa América, South America’s biggest soccer championship, will return to the United States in 2024 as part of a broad collaboration agreement between soccer officials in the Americas that also includes at least one new tournament as well as expanded intercontinental competitions for clubs and women’s national teams.
Concacaf, the confederation that governs the sport in North and Central America and the Caribbean, and Conmebol, which rules the game in South America, announced their agreement on Friday.
In 2024, the 10 South American nations that would normally contest the Copa América, the century-old South American championship, will be joined by six teams from the Concacaf region.
The Copa América was previously played in the United States in 2016, the only other time it was held outside South America and also the only previous time it included as many as 16 teams.
It is not uncommon for the Copa América to include “guest teams” from other regions. But for 2024 the teams from Concacaf will qualify through the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League, rather than by invitation. A guest team has never won the Copa América, although Mexico made the final in 1993 and 2001. The United States has appeared in the tournament four times, making two semifinal appearances.
The federations said the expanded Copa América would serve, in part, as a vital window of top-level preparation in the Western Hemisphere ahead the 2026 World Cup, which is to be co-hosted in the United States, Mexico and Canada.
The tournament will be held from mid-June to mid-July 2024, putting it in scheduling conflict with that summer’s European Championship, a tent-pole event on the soccer calendar that is held every four years, but keeping both tournaments well clear of the Paris Olympics that open in late July 2024.
Argentina won the most recent Copa América in 2021, a career highlight for Lionel Messi, and his first major national team title. He and Argentina followed that with a World Cup win in 2022. In all, Argentina and Uruguay have won 15 Copa Américas each and Brazil nine.
The federations also announced that the 2024 women’s Concacaf Gold Cup will include the top four South American teams alongside eight teams from Concacaf, a rare (and welcome) bit of heightened tournament competition for the region’s best teams outside the Women’s World Cup or the Olympics.
A new men’s club competition for the region is also planned, to include two club teams from each confederation. The federations said they hoped to launch that tournament in 2024 as well. The tournament comes as the Club World Cup, for club teams around the world, is in flux, with FIFA planning to expand it but hold it less frequently.