Nashville is one of 32 cities across North America that could serve as official host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup, according to a news release from U.S. Soccer.
“As we move to the next stage of the bid process, we’re even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup in history and help accelerate the growth of soccer across North America and around the country,” said United Bid Chairman Sunil Gulati in a news release. “We have more than double the number of cities required to stage matches in 2026. We have a vision for growing the game and engaging fans as never before.”
The United Bid includes four cities in Canada, three in Mexico and 25 in the United States.
“Our biggest challenge will finding ways to honor the enthusiasm of all the people across Canada, Mexico and the United States through the development of our united hosting concept,” said Gulati.
During the next stage of the bid process, the United Bid Committee will integrate the 32 potential host cities into the united bid strategy and vision, as well as work with local officials to finalize the hosting documents required by FIFA. Representative from the 32 potential host cities will travel to Houston, Texas, during the week of Nov. 13 for a working session with the United Bid Committee.
“We received applications from 41 cities across Canada, Mexico and the United States and narrowed the list after a comprehensive review of each of the communities and facilities,” said John Kristick, Executive Director of the United Bid Committee, in a news release. “The 32 cities that we have identified as potential host cities, on their own and together, are prepared to welcome soccer fans from around the world.”
All of the 32 cities identified as finalists will not be guaranteed to host a game should the World Cup be awarded.
“While not every city will move forward as a potential host city, we were so impressed by all the applicants that we will continue to engage with all the cities as part of our hosting strategy and we will welcome the opportunity to work with FIFA to further expand our hosting concept to ensure the broadest possible impact for this spectacular event,” said Kristick.
Nashville has seen success this year on the soccer front.
The Gold Cup Game at Nissan Stadium on July 8 drew a then-state record 47,622 to watch the United States play Panama.
An International Champions Cup game between Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City on July 29 broke the attendance record with 56,232.
On Monday, Nashville Mayor Megan Barry announced plans for a new Major League Soccer stadium to be built at the Nashville Fairgrounds should the city be awarded an expansion franchise.
The MLS is expected to award two bids to begin play by 2020 later this year and then award two other franchises to expand the league to 28 teams.
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