USMNT captain Tyler Adams hints at Copa América 2024 participation

Tyler Adams seemed to give the public a tantalizing tidbit on live television Wednesday afternoon, addressing one of the biggest questions facing the Yanks as they – and their Canadian and Mexican counterparts too, for that matter – pivot towards a new cycle.

Joining program icon Tim Howard and the rest of NBC’s English Premier League studio team at Elland Road ahead of his club Leeds United’s match vs. Manchester City, the USMNT captain said that the national team will get the chance to compete in the next Copa América, South America’s international championship tournament.

“It's very, very important that now we use these upcoming tournaments and upcoming games to continue to build this chemistry together,” said Adams when asked about how the USMNT can mount a deeper run in ‘26 than their Round of 16 exit in Qatar earlier this month. “One of the things that we've lacked going into this first World Cup [since 2014] is, it took us a long time to get our best players on the field and in camp together. Some of us were injured, some of us were not healthy. We missed out on the opportunity to maximize our time together.

“Now leading into this World Cup, we have some big tournaments, we have the [Concacaf] Nations League, we're going to have the opportunity to play in Copa América, which is going to be huge for us,” added the defensive midfielder, who was suspended for Wednesday’s match due to a red card in LUFC’s last game before the World Cup break.

“And if you can have your guys healthy in tournaments like that, you gain experience, and hopefully some more young guys are coming through the pipeline right now.”

Copa América would offer priceless exposure to high-grade opposition like Brazil, defending holders and recently-crowned world champions Argentina and the rest of Conmebol, widely considered pound-for-pound the most competitive confederation in the world. The next edition is slated for June 14-July 13, 2024.

The United States men were invited to take part in Copa América as guest teams in 1993, 1995 and 2007, stunning the world with a fourth-place finish in ‘95. The US then hosted a special expanded edition (with six Concacaf nations joining the usual 10 South Americans) in 2016 dubbed Copa América Centenario in celebration of Conmebol’s 100th anniversary. There Jurgen Klinsmann’s Yanks finished fourth, although a 4-0 semifinal humbling at the hands of Lionel Messi and Argentina underlined the distance between them and the world elite.

Earlier this month multiple outlets reported that negotiations were in an advanced stage for the US to host the ‘24 Copa América, which like ‘16 would be a 16-team event with the three ‘26 hosts and three others from Concacaf. That drew denials, albeit tempered ones, from officials on both continents.

“For the time being it's speculation,” said Conmebol president Alejandro Dominguez. “There have been proposals from many places. Right now, the 2024 Copa América does not have a host.

“We have spoken several times [with Concacaf], we were very close to getting it done on other occasions and unfortunately, it did not happen. The conversation is still open, there is more to do, always united, not divided.”

Said Concacaf president Victor Montagliani: “It's really not the jurisdiction of a federation or a league to have those discussions. Those discussions are held by the confederations; it's between confederations. My Gold Cup is mine, nobody talks [about] the Gold Cup other than me. Copa América belongs to Conmebol and my partner Alejandro Dominguez. That's where the discussion happens.”

Ecuador were originally scheduled to host the ‘24 Copa América under Conmebol's rotation system, but last month removed themselves from consideration. Argentina and Colombia were set to co-host last year’s edition but that tournament was relocated to Brazil due to COVID-19 restrictions and political instability, respectively; neither of the original hosts have publicly expressed interest in hosting in 2024.

Adams was not speaking in an official capacity and a U.S. Soccer spokesperson reiterated to on Wednesday that nothing has changed since the denials stated earlier this month. But the words of the USMNT’s captain are likely to add to the sense of anticipation among supporters as focus shifts towards 2026.