Orlando City Youth Players Gorka Aperribay (U-18 Academy) and Natalie Michele Fouque (U-18 ENCL) served as Bid Ambassadors, and joined Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer and Kingston for a special “hand-off” of the official Copa America Centenario USA 2016 Bid earlier today at Lake Eola. The Ambassadors then headed to Orlando International Airport to hand deliver the bid to Chicago.
Bid Ambassadors to hand deliver package to USSF in Chicago #ORLCopa2016
ORLANDO – March 30, 2015 – The City Beautiful today will formally submit a bid to become a host city for the Copa America Centenario USA 2016 tournament. Orlando City Soccer Club, the Central Florida Sports Commission and the City of Orlando have partnered in the effort to bring the popular Latin American championship to the Orlando Citrus Bowl, and to Central Florida, for the first time in its history.
The official submission is being hand delivered by Bid Ambassadors and Orlando City Youth Players Gorka Aperribay (U-18 Academy) and Natalie Michele Fouque (U-18 ENCL). Their entire trip can be followed online on www.twitter.com/OrlandoCitySC or using #ORLCopa2016.
The 2016 edition of tournament, which will take place in June, will mark the first time this premier event has been staged outside of South America.
“Over the past several months we have seen firsthand the significant impact premier soccer can have on our city and region,” said Orlando City Founder and President Phil Rawlins. “Between the unforgettable kickoff to our 2015 MLS season with over 62,500 screaming fans, to the Florida Cup, the Canadian Men’s National Team training at Lake Sylvan, and the recent announcement of the major international exhibition between Mexico and Costa Rica on June 27 – we are proving to the world that Orlando is the home for world class soccer.
“We are confident that our bid for the Copa America Centenario USA 2016 will be successful, and that we will once again deliver an event of great magnitude, with its extensive economic benefits, to the Central Florida region. I’d like to thank all of our partners in this process as well as the U.S. Soccer Federation for their consideration of the City Beautiful as a venue for this historic championship.”
“Orlando represents the marriage of the world’s leading tourist destination with the world’s most popular sport, making the Orlando Citrus Bowl the ideal location for the Copa America Centenario 2016,” said Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer.
“Between a sellout crowd at Orlando City’s opening match and our recent announcement to host Mexico and Costa Rica’s national teams later this year, Orlando is quickly proving its merits as the Soccer Capital of the South,” said John Bisignano, President/CEO of the Central Florida Sports Commission. “We believe our bid tells a story that the #1 tourist destination in the world is ready for this event and is dedicated to growing the beautiful game in the City Beautiful. The entire Central Florida region would benefit from the vast media coverage, more than 45,000 room nights and estimated $34-51 million in economic impact the Copa America Centenario and its thousands of international and domestic visitors would provide.”
The 2016 Copa America Centenario will feature six teams from the Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) and all 10 teams from the Confederación Sudamericana de Fútbol (CONMEBOL): Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela.
From CONCACAF, host USA and Mexico are automatic qualifiers, while Costa Rica (2014 Copa Centroamericana winner) and Jamaica (2014 Caribbean Cup winner) qualified this fall. The final two teams will be determined via a playoff to be held among the top four finishers at the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup not already qualified for the Copa America Centenario.
Orlando City hosts D.C. United at the Orlando Citrus Bowl on April 3. Kickoff is set for 7:00 p.m. ET.