The United States' 4-0 defeat at the hands of Argentina was disappointing for American fans, but a place in the semifinal on home soil can be considered a success. As for the tournament, it too was a success and soccer in the United States continues to thrive as a result.
Crowds Turned Out
The 100 year anniversary of Copa America had to be the best yet and the hosts, the United States, delivered as the Copa America Centenario was the highest attended Copa America in history.
The sheer size of stadiums throughout the country made some look quite empty yet the tournament averaged of 46,000 people over 32 games. The number seems even more impressive if one were to look at the staggering prices of tickets. The large crowds turning out for these games throughout the course of June show just how far the sport is progressing in the U.S.
People flocked to stadiums across ten cities to see Lionel Messi, Javier Hernandez, and James Rodriguez, no matter how much it cost.
While the overall attendance is still less than that of the 1994 World Cup, which was also held in the United States, the Copa America Centenario Final made history. Played at MetLife Stadium, the clash between Argentina and Chile drew a crowd of 82,026, setting a new record for the largest attendance for a soccer game in New Jersey history.
TV Ratings Rocket
Fox Sports and Univision held the rights for this summer's spectacle and the TV ratings were just as impressive as those who attended games live. Proof that soccer continues to thrive, the semifinal between the USA and Argentina was the most watched men's soccer game in Fox Sports 1 history as 3.29 million people tuned in at home.
The two networks combined had over 100 million viewers tuning in throughout the tournament. Whether at home or in the stadiums, people of all ages had their eyes glued to the Copa America Centenario.
Hosts Should Be Proud
Coming into the tournament, many expressed doubts over Jurgen Klinsmann's side and whether they could impress as hosts. A defeat to Colombia in the opener furthered those doubts but the United States fed off their home support and were great en route to a semi-final berth, where they faced Messi and Argentina.
A 4-0 defeat in the semifinal before a 1-0 defeat to Colombia in the third place game cemented a fourth place finish for Klinsmann's side, something not many predicted before the tournament. The players fought tooth and nail to earn their place in the semifinal of one of the world's biggest competitions and their run will only galvanize Americans into following the sport. The ratings, the crowd turnout and the United States' finish have helped propel soccer even further in the USA and it will only grow bigger from here.
Copa America Centenario didn't end the way Americans had hoped. They didn't lift the trophy on home soil but that's okay, especially for a team that is still developing. No matter what direction the United States national team go from here, they have helped the beautiful game take another big step in their own country, and that is a success.