Cincinnati On Short List for 2026 World Cup
On Wednesday FIFA announced a final list of possible cities that would get to host matches for the 2026 World Cup, of which Cincinnati was included. The bid for the 2026 World Cup is a joint bid between the United Sates, Mexico, and Canada with the only other official bid on the table is from Morocco. The final decision of who will be chosen to host the tournament will be made by FIFA on June 13, 2018.
The last and only time the U.S. hosted the World Cup was in 1994 where U.S. made it to the Round of 16 but fell 1-0 to Brazil who would go on to win the tournament after beating Italy 3-2 in the first ever World Cup Final penalty shootout.
In the meantime, the United States, Canada, and Mexico has been narrowing down possible locations for World Cup matches. With the tournament expanding from 32 to 48 participating teams, at least 12 cities will be chosen to host matches, while other cities may be used to house teams and hold special events for fans. Right now the United Bid Committee has selected 32 finalists that will be narrowed down even more as the summer approaches. Of the 32 selected, 4 belong to Canada, 3 to Mexico, and the remaining 25 to the United States, one of those being Cincinnati.
In the official bid, the United Bid Committee agreed on 10 games being played in Canada and another 10 games to be played in Mexico, with the remaining 60 games to be played in the United States. This also includes every game from the Quarterfinals on. So it can be assumed that most of the cities selected will be in the United States. I'd guess that 2 each go to Canada and Mexico leaving at minimum 8 hosting cities in the United States. While they could choose more, let's just work with that number.
(The full list of cities can be found here)
Of the 25 American cities some notable ones are:
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Cincinnati, Ohio
- Chicago, Illinois
- Los Angeles, California
- Seattle, Washington
- Nashville, Tennessee
- New York/New Jersey
- Dallas, Texas
- Houston, Texas
A lot of these cities have previously hosted World Cup, Gold Cup, USMNT, USWNT, Copa America, and big-name friendlies. What could be in Cincinnati's favor is if the committee is looking to switch it up and pick some cities that haven't been used before. If Cincinnati can secure a MLS expansion and keep soccer alive and well here, we could be a dark horse pick.
Regardless of what happens, the fact that Cincinnati has made it this far into the selection is exciting. It could be a time to show not only the nation, but the entire world what a soccer town Cincinnati really is.