Official: Rio Tinto Stadium to host U-23 Olympic qualifying

May 14th, 2015 | by Sean Walker
Photo credit: @sumoetx

Photo credit: @sumoetx

The road to Rio de Janeiro will go through Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah, CONCACAF announced Thursday.

ESPN 700 radio’s Bill Riley broke the news Thursday afternoon on Twitter that Real Salt Lake’s home stadium will be the official home of the semifinals and finals of CONCACAF’s Olympic qualifying tournament this fall. The semifinals will be played Oct. 10 with the finals on Oct. 13 between a pool of U-23 teams from nations that include the United States, Canada, Mexico, and a pair of Central American and Caribbean nations yet to be determined.

Rio Tinto Stadium will also host the third-place match Oct. 13, whose winner will face Colombia in a playoff for one regions berth to the Olympics.

“We are pleased again to host a significant international qualifier at Rio Tinto Stadium and appreciate CONCACAF awarding these games for our great fans,” RSL president Bill Manning said in a statement. “Our work with the Utah Sports Commission has allowed us to be active in bidding on these type of events, and we’re all very excited to be chosen as host of the semifinal and final doubleheaders for CONCACAF’s entry into the 2016 Olympic Games.”

The group draw will be conducted in August, according to a report at SI.com.

Qualifying begins Oct. 1 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., and continues in MLS stadia at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif., and Dick’s Sporting Good’s Park in Commerce City, Colo.

Rio Tinto Stadium previously hosted international exhibitions from the U.S. men’s and women’s national teams, as well as CONCACAF Gold Cup group stage matches and World Cup qualifiers in 2010 and 2014. This will be the stadium’s first pre-Olympic staging ground.

“These qualifiers are part of the series of key events that we are thrilled to partner with,” Utah Sports Commission president and CEO Jeff Robbins said in a statement from RSL. “As part of our great state’s sport and Olympic legacy efforts, this event will once again attract national and international coverage, putting Utah back in the spotlight.”

Sean Walker

Sean Walker

Salt City FC editor-in-chief Sean Walker has been covering soccer at all levels since 2007. He began his career in Las Vegas, and has since written for publications from the Intermountain West to Central New York, where he attended graduate school in 2012. Currently, Sean covers Real Salt Lake and Major League Soccer for KSL.com. A struggling Evertonian by birth, Sean follows European soccer through the blue lens of the Toffees, and has strong feelings toward the UEFA Europa League.

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