For the first time since 1994, FIFA World Cup games will take place in the U.S.
The “North America World Cup” composed of host countries Mexico, Canada and the U.S. beat out a bid from Morocco.
One reason FIFA chose to do so was because the stadiums and cities within North America’s bid are much more established and polished than Morocco. Another reason was because holding a World Cup in North America would bring in significantly more profit.
“The United Bid is proposing an offer that is mainly a business proposal for football,” one Moroccan official, Moncef Belkhayat, said Monday. “Their offer is based on dollars, on profit, while Morocco is offering an offer that is based on passion for football, for development of football — not only in Morocco, but also in Africa.”
All 23 locations the North America bid proposed to FIFA were already built with hotels and cities surrounding them, saving FIFA and the respective countries substantial amounts of money.
Although the U.S. hosted a men’s FIFA World Cup somewhat recently in 1994, Mexico hasn’t since 1986 and Canada never has. Out of the 80 matches being played, 60 will be in the U.S., 10 in Mexico and 10 in Canada. The World Cup Final will be held at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, NJ.
With the recent growth of American soccer, a World Cup bid two tournaments from now will only increase the sport throughout the country. Soccer has become more and more prominent, and one reason for that is having teams like Real Madrid, Manchester United and Inter Milan come overseas to play exhibition matches.
The U.S. has also seen recent expansion teams in the MLS like Atlanta United FC, Los Angeles FC, Orlando FC and others take over as dominant new franchises. Atlanta has even sold out the Mercedes-Benz Stadium (capacity 75,000) multiple times.
Both international and MLS teams have seen their popularity rise in the U.S. as of late, and the World Cup should be a spectacle in the country in 2026.
An interesting storyline to follow is rising star Christian Pulisic leading what will be an American squad in its prime. With players by the likes of Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey retired or close to retirement, the U.S. National Team will be Pulisic’s for the foreseen future.
Regardless if the host team can make a run in the tournament, Americans should be extremely excited for the World Cup coming to their home.