SANTA CLARA, Calif. - FIFA, the international governing body of worldwide soccer, announced today that Santa Clara will be one of 11 American cities to host the 2026 World Cup.
The Bay Area bid was put forward by the San Francisco 49ers, the San Jose Earthquakes and other soccer advocacy groups that said that Levi's Stadium should be one of the World Cup venues.
Soccer mania, a long-growing Bay Area phenomenon, just got a big octane boost by inclusion into what truly captures worldwide interest every four years.
"We are thrilled to be selected as a host for FIFA World Cup 2026 and can't wait to have you join me in my hometown as we celebrate many more World Cup memories together," said Bay Area soccer star Brandi Chastain.
The newly formed Oakland Roots professional soccer team is thrilled.
"The World Cup is what every player, every coach and every fan aspires to watch. This is the world tuning in; not just America or a select few countries," said Edreece Arghandiwal. Oakland Roots marketing director. "To have the potential of the World Cup right in the middle of the innovation center of the world: that is a major victory," said Andy Dolich, a former general manager of a North American Soccer League team and executive in other pro sports leagues.
The Bay Area is one of 11 U.S. metropolises to host the World Cup, plus several cities in Canada and Mexico.. Co-hosting with the Bay Area will be Atlanta, Boston, Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, New York/New Jersey, Philadelphia and Seattle. Also hosting will be Toronto and Vancouver, Canada as well as Guadalajara and Mexico City, Mexico,
The World Cup is like no other tournament on Earth.
"All nations represented in this tournament and it is an incredible, impactful tool to get people together in a way that, quite frankly, no other thing in the world can get people together like," said the Roots Arghandiwal.
"Sport, to me, has always been maybe the last town square left in our society where people of all backgrounds get together and respect each other," said Dolich.
The 2026 World Cup, will be the first to host not 32 teams, but 48.
"We will see the effect of it when it happens. It lasts years and years and years afterward," said Arghandiwal.
But first things first: World Cup 2022 in the Middle East state of Qatar in November.