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Football: US to host CONCACAF Olympic qualifying event

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(GlobalPost/GlobalPost)

North American teams will compete for two berths in the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in a qualifying tournament in the United States next October, US Soccer announced Thursday.

The Confederation of North, Central America and Caribbean Association Football (CONCACAF) event will be staged from October 1-13 and include the host Americans plus automatic qualifiers Mexico, the 2012 Olympic champions, and Canada and five other nations, three from Central America and two from the Caribbean based on regional qualifying later this year.

The tournament finalists will qualify for a spot at the Rio Olympics while the third-place finisher will have a playoff against Colombia to determine another berth in Brazil.

Venues and exact match dates were not announced.

"The Olympic qualifying championship provides an ideal stage for CONCACAF nations to demonstrate the bright future the confederation holds on the field," CONCACAF President Jeffrey Webb said.

Group play will be staged through October 7, with the final match days in each group as well as the semi-finals, final and third-place matches all falling within a FIFA match-date window, allowing each country to call upon global talent from clubs worldwide.

"The Olympics hold a special place in the hearts of all Americans and this is a great opportunity to see these young athletes compete to reach their goal of playing in the Olympic Games," US Soccer president Sunil Gulati said.

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