With the groups for Copa América 2024 finally set following the conclusion of Thursday night’s live draw in Miami, the United States Men’s National Team at last knows it’s pathway to the tournament’s knockout round.
Uruguay, Panama, and Bolivia will join the USMNT in Group C, all vying for a spot in the eight-team quarterfinals. The U.S. will open group play against Bolivia on Sunday, June 23 at AT&T Stadium in Dallas, followed by a meeting with Panama on Thursday, June 27 at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium, and conclude with a matchup against Uruguay at Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City on Monday, July 1.
Following the draw, USMNT Head Coach Gregg Berhalter met with media members on site in Miami where he discussed his thoughts on the team’s Group C opponents, what it means to host the Copa América in the U.S. once again, and the team’s expectations to perform well.
On his immediate reaction to the group draw:
“It’s a tough group. I think any group that was going to be drawn was going to be difficult. Copa America is a very difficult tournament. For us, we’re excited to finally know our competitors. Now it’s about planning our game plans and getting ready to compete.”
On what to expect from the U.S. team given their status as tournament hosts:
“The important thing is we want to capture the fans. We want to get the country behind us and go on a run. We know you have to get through your group first. After you get through your group, then it’s about a knockout tournament. We’re trying to compete in that stage of the tournament and hopefully be competing for a trophy.”
On the team being excited to compete at home:
“It’s really a dream come true for us that we’re hosting the tournament and we get to play a home. The guys are really excited about it. It’s really something to look forward to for us.”
On any advantages or disadvantages to hosting a tournament this big:
“No disadvantages. We’re really looking forward to trying to get the home supporters behind us and really creating great momentum.”
On facing expectations to advance out of Group C:
“That’s the reality. For us, it’s about now going on the field and competing. We know that you can be favorites and not win the game. For us, it’s about being focused, trying to get momentum with the fans, and then trying to go as far as we can in this tournament and setting up the group in a way that we can continue on after the group stage.”
On the potential of the match against Uruguay in Kansas City:
“It could be huge, but again, I think there’s danger in skipping past the first two games and thinking ‘It’s the Uruguay game.’ Every game is going to be meaningful. Our goal is to get as many points as possible in the group stage and then continue on.”
On fans realizing the impact of hosting Copa América:
“I think they do. We have so many different cultures in the United States that I think there’s going to be a huge appreciation for what’s happening. This is a mini-World Cup. The fans want to get a taste of what it’s going to be like in 2026. Now is time to check it out. I think you’re going to see some great stadiums, great soccer, competitive soccer, and some really great support.”
On the U.S. team’s responsibility to help sell the sport in the country:
“That’s the whole idea with this and the World Cup, to try and really captivate the public and grow the game. That’s what we’re trying to do as a group. The two sides of it are the public really getting to know our players as people because it’s a special group of guys, and then the second thing is performing well so that everyone wants to turn on the TV and watch us.”