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Toronto to Host Games During 2015 Gold Cup

For the first time ever the Gold Cup will be held in Canada, as Toronto's BMO Field was announced as one of the venues which will be hosting group stage matches.

John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports

It has been almost 15 years since the Gold Cup came to Canada, but this time it isn't the trophy but instead actual matches. In 2000, Canada became only the third ever country to win the tournament, marking one of the biggest achievements in the country's soccer history. In 2015, they will become the third ever country to host a game. Toronto's BMO Field is set to host Group B's final match day, which will take place on July 15. So far the only team announced in Group B is Costa Rica.

The remainder of the group announcements are set to take place at some stage in the new year. This is when it will become evident whether or not Canada will be involved in Group B, and therefore get to play their first ever home game in Gold Cup history. Considering the groups will be drawn behind closed doors, there is probably a pretty good chance Canada find its way into the group.

Either way, this is an important step forward for Canada in international soccer. Should the World Cup 2026 bid still be in their plans, and all signs seem to indicate that this is the case, the more events hosted successfully on Canadian soil the better. Between the recently successful 2007 U20 World Cup, the U20 Women's World Cup, the 2015 Women's World Cup, the 2015 Pan/Am Games and now the Gold Cup, Canada will have plenty of opportunities to prove themselves a capable host.

Should Canada play in Group B, it is also a clever way for Canada to schedule a home date for the team. This appears to be a priority for the CSA. It is somewhat unfortunate that Toronto continues to be the destination for Canadian games considering the number of other cities hoping for a game, especially Montreal and Vancouver who have not hosted the men's national team in some time.

Toronto won't be hosting a Women's World Cup game, however, and there is a real sense that it is the preferred destination of the players. Considering how important this tournament could be for Canadian soccer, having a bit of familiarity for the team could be very welcome.

The importance is simple: advancing far enough in the 2015 Gold Cup could see Canada qualify for the Copa America Centenario. This would give them an opportunity to play against the best teams in the Americas, which would certainly be vital experience ahead of qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. If they were to win their second ever tournament, it could also give them a chance to qualify for the 2017 Confederations Cup.