UPDATE: Centro San Antonio announced on Thursday, June 2 that Friday’s watch party is cancelled due to expected rain. They will host another watch party for the United States vs. Paraguay match on Saturday, June 11 at Travis Park.

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For the first time in soccer history the Copa America Centenario will be held outside of South America and in the U.S.

While San Antonio is not fortunate enough to actually host any of the Copa America matches, San Antonio FC and Centro San Antonio have teamed up to host a watch party at Travis Park for the opening match of the tournament on Friday, June 3, when the U.S. takes on Colombia.

The event is free and the match kicks-off at 8:30 p.m., but fans should arrive earlier as the park will quickly fill up.

The match is pivotal for the United States’ hopes of advancing in the tournament, as Colombia is one of the stronger teams, seen as a potential winner of the whole tournament. A loss for either team will make their chances of advancing much smaller as they would then need good results against Costa Rica and Paraguay, who are no pushovers, in order to advance.

That makes this an exciting match up, perhaps the biggest game in Group A and one of the biggest of the full group stages. Colombia is an entertaining team to watch, with a plethora of young talent, and taking on the hosts with the stage of the opening match will create a worthy match for the tournament.

While the soccer will be more than enough entertainment, there will be plenty of other elements on Friday to keep folks busy at Travis Park. Geoff Sheen, San Antonio sports media personality, will emcee the night, which will include San Antonio FC ticket giveaways as well as entertainment for children, including a face painter, making the whole event a family affair.

The event will also have a fittingly San Antonio feel. Some of the city’s finest food trucks will be on site with food for purchase, so fans don’t have to go hungry.

San Antonio FC will use Friday’s event as an opportunity to sell merchandise and provide information on tickets to matches for those not lucky enough to win tickets. Additionally, there will be San Antonio FC players on hand to meet fans and sign autographs, although exactly which players will be there is yet to be confirmed. The team plays the following day down in the Rio Grande Valley.

Friday’s watch party is one of many events expected to take place in the historic Travis Park throughout the summer. It further highlights the park’s relationship with Spurs Sports and Entertainment, which recently unveiled a Spurs mural in the park ahead of the NBA playoffs.

(Read more: Travis Park Mural Shows Spurs Pride for the Playoffs)

The 2016 Copa America is a one of a kind edition of the tournament, merging North and South America into the event fully for the first time. This year is off the usual four-year hosting cycle in order to celebrate the tournament’s 100th anniversary.

https://rivardreport.wildapricot.org

Top image: A fan waves smoke in the air as he celebrates a San Antonio FC goal in May 2016. Photo by Michael Cirlos.

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Chris Hockman

Chris Hockman has been a freelance soccer journalist for over a decade, originally from Australia, Chris quickly started writing about soccer in San Antonio after moving to Texas in 2010. Chris is the...