The longest running soccer tournament in the world, the Copa America, will return to Chile in 2015, and the hosts have grand plans.
Sergio Jadue, president of Chile’s football association, the ANFP, said he hopes that the 2015 version of the Copa America will be the best ever.
“After an almost 25 year wait, we won’t let this great opportunity to be a grat host, a friendly rival and a top-class organizer pass us by,” he said.
The ANFP boss added, “We hope that it is the best continental football tournament ever realized.”
Chile’s current generation of players — which includes international stars such as Alexis Sánchez, Arturo Vidal, Gary Medel and Eduardo Vargas — has been described as the country’s best-ever team, and have great hopes for the upcoming World Cup in Brazil despite drawing a tough group.
Chile’s national team coach Jorge Sampaoli, who was joined on stage by legends Iván Zamorano and Elías Figueroa, noted the positive effect that the local crowds will have on the national team at the Copa América, where Chile hope to lift the title for the first time.
“The Chilean fans will make a difference in the tournament because they are very passionate about their national team. The support of the people is very important for the Chilean players,” the former Universidad de Chile coach said at the launch event.
The tournament will be played in eight cities, with Antofagasta, La Serena, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, Santiago, Rancagua and Temuco all taking part. Many of the stadiums have been rebuilt or renovated for the occasion.
The Copa America will take place between June 11 and July 4. The year will be a big one 2015 for Chilean soccer, with the country also playing host to the Under-17 World Cup.