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Seattle a strong candidate to host 2026 World Cup matches

Seattle is still only a finalist as 23 cities await the final cut of the United bid of the USA, Mexico and Canada.

Seattle Skyline From North by Jane G Jane G Photography for Sounder at Heart

The United bid of the United States, Mexico and Canada came out on top of Morocco and will host a 48-team tournament in 2026. The vote was not particularly close as Morocco only took a majority in a single confederation (CAF). United dominated elsewhere.

As the winners, the three nations will now make final preparations for choosing the host cities and training venues. Seattle should be considered a favorite as CenturyLink Field was rated a top-five stadium in the bid. There will also be several training facilities in the region that meet international standards. Being in the top 16 of the 23 candidate cities should not be too difficult due to Seattle’s combination of hotel space, stadium standards, support for soccer and rich people in the area.

World Cup 2026 does not just involve the expansion of host nations, but the expansion of the tournament. A total of 48 teams will qualify for the tournament.

The plan submitted to FIFA involved Mexico hosting the opener, with the United States hosting every match after the quarterfinals. Three cities in Mexico (Mexico City, Guadalajara, Monterrey) and three cities in Canada (Toronto, Montreal, Edmonton) made the cut to 23.

The last time the United States hosted the World Cup the Seattle Sounders were rebooting in the A-League. The last time Mexico hosted the World Cup the NASL had just collapsed. Canada has never hosted a men’s World Cup.

There is now a generation of soccer fans who have grown up with live, local professional soccer in their home towns, largely because of World Cup ‘94. With the boost to training facilities and a schedule perfect for US TV, the promise of how great soccer can grow with this next boost is unfathomable.

Soccer in Puget Sound is almost certain to see a huge boost through Seattle’s near-certain selection as a host city. CenturyLink Field will get upgrades (maybe even permanent grass) and training facilities in the area will be upgraded as well.

It’s not official yet, but that doesn’t mean we can’t start dreaming of what will come to be in 2026.

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