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Seattle among potential World Cup host cities that ‘pick themselves’

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NBC Sports columnist thinks we’ll be one of 10 U.S. host cities in 2026.

Max Aquino / Sounder at Heart

Ever since they were announced as one of the cities vying to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup, Seattle officials have felt they had a strong case to be included. While there’s still a long way between here — Seattle is one of 17 U.S. finalists and there — the list will eventually be whittled down to 10 — it appears as though that perception is strong even outside of the Pacific Northwest.

NBC Sports soccer columnist Joe Prince-Wright — by all appearances with no dog in the fight — considers Seattle to be among the six virtually automatic host cities.

The first six cities on this list pick themselves. New York, LA, Washington D.C., Miami and Seattle are all cities entrenched with rich soccer culture and they are spread in all four corners of the U.S.

Obviously, Prince-Wright is far from the final word on this. But it does suggest that there’s a national perception that Seattle “deserves” this spot. It’s particularly notable when you consider that among that CenturyLink Field is among the oldest and smallest stadiums on this list of finalists. The appeal of Seattle is almost entirely due to the fan culture we’ve helped create around the Sounders.

One of the few drawbacks of Seattle is that we still play on artificial turf, something that will likely need to be addressed. In the past, the Sounders have installed temporary grass. Notably, about half of the stadiums named among the finalists also have artificial turf.