Howard and Dos Santos back Pan-American tournament idea
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[January 18, 2017]
By Simon Evans
MANHATTAN BEACH, California (Reuters) -
Two of the leading players for the United States and Mexico national
teams have given their backing to the idea of a regular Pan-American
The Copa America Centenario, bringing together the top teams from
North and South America, was held in the United States last summer
and there are reports of officials being interested in creating a
similar tournament in the future.
The centenary event was billed as a one-off but its commercial
success has led to speculation that officials from South American
confederation CONMEBOL and North and Central American body CONCACAF
being interested in making it a regular event.
The United States Soccer Federation declined to comment on whether
such talks had formally begun but their president Sunil Gulati has
previously said that discussions around the topic have been held.
United States goalkeeper Tim Howard believes last year’s event
proved a Pan-American tournament had its value.
"I think it is exciting," Howard told Reuters television.
"I think some of the best players in the world are in South America
and so the summer was exciting for our country to see and showcase
not only those teams but also the individuals who play on teams like
Chile and Colombia, Argentina and Brazil and so on.
"It was special and so it would be great if CONCACAF teams could be
part of that for sure," he added.
CONCACAF organizes a Gold Cup tournament every second year for teams
in North and Central America and the Caribbean but Mexico forward
Giovani dos Santos believes playing against South American
opposition would improve their games.
[to top of second column]
Mexico forward Giovani Dos Santos (10) shoots the ball on the Costa
Rica goal during the match at the Orlando Citrus Bowl. Mandatory
Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
"I think it is great because obviously the competition in that kind
of tournament is higher because of the players you had in there and
I hope in the coming years it will be the same," he said.
"I think the quality of the teams in North America is getting better
and better all the time," he added.
CONCACAF president Victor Montagliani said after June’s Copa America
that he was looking at ideas for future joint tournaments but
acknowledged that European clubs, who employ most of the top
players, would need to be won over.
In order to force clubs to release players for the tournament it
would also need to feature as an official part of the FIFA calendar.
"We remain open to hearing any proposals and ideas," CONMEBOL
President Alejandro Dominguez said after the tournament.
(Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)
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