Copa America brings international soccer tournament to Philadelphia

PHILADELPHIA (WPVI) -- Copa America, Spanish and Portugese for "America Cup," is one of the biggest soccer events outside of the World Cup.

Philadelphia is one of 10 U.S. cities hosting matches from the Americas with thousands of international fans in town.

And yet, very few people in the city even know what Copa America is.

After coming across several Philadelphians who were clueless, we did find one local who was knowledgeable about the sports event.

"The soccer tournament," said James Knight of North Philadelphia. "Yeah, I follow international soccer."

Thousands of international fans were in town for Thursday night's game between Uruguay and Venezuela.

Authorities have raised security efforts at the Linc for the three games being played here. With more than 50,000 fans expected for each game, police of all sorts will be on hand, including officers from the Department of Homeland Security.

The heightened security measures comes six months after a French soccer stadium was rocked by several explosions during the deadly terrorist attacks in Paris and less than two weeks after a soccer stadium in England was evacuated after the discovery of a suspicious device.

Organizers were not allowing any bags through the ring of metal detectors at the Linc, and clear, plastic bags were being handed out for free for personal effects.

But fans, more interested in who was going to win the match, didn't seem to mind.

"Our team has to be getting better, like the last years," said Blas Rodriguez from Margarita, Venezuela. "Our team is way better right now than before."

"It's Uruguay," said Elaine Rodriguez of East Orange, New Jersey. When we told her fans told us Venezuela was going to win she replied, "No, no, Uruguay."

In the end, Venezuela took home the win, beating Uruguay 1-0.

The next game will be on Saturday between the United States and Paraguay at 7 p.m.

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