It might seem like an eternity, but 2026 will arrive in just eight short years. Many soccer fans are already making plans for the World Cup games in North America. The matches are set to take place in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. FIFA officials will choose 10 U.S. host cities from among 17 contenders.
The tournament will feature 48 teams playing 80 games in all. The United States will host 60 matches, with Canada and Mexico splitting the other 20. MetLife Stadium, home to the New York Jets and New York Giants, will host the final match.
U.S. contender cities
Here are the U.S. cities — and their venues — that may host the 2026 World Cup. Ten will be selected in all.
- Atlanta: Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Capacity: 71,000
- Baltimore: M&T Bank Stadium. Capacity: 71,006
- Boston: Gillette Stadium. Capacity: 65,878 (expandable to 70,000)
- Cincinnati: Paul Brown Stadium. Capacity: 65,515 (expandable to 67,402)
- Dallas: AT&T Stadium. Capacity: 80,000
- Denver: Sports Authority Field at Mile High Stadium. Capacity: 76,125 (expandable to 77,595)
- Houston: NRG Stadium/ Capacity: 71,795 (expandable to 72,220)
- Kansas City: Arrowhead Stadium. Capacity: 76,416
- Los Angeles: Rose Bowl Stadium. Capacity: 92,000
- Miami: Hard Rock Stadium. Capacity: 64,767 (expandable to 67,518)
- Nashville: Nissan Stadium. Capacity: 69,143 (expandable to 75,000)
- New York/New Jersey: MetLife Stadium. Capacity: 82,500 (expandable to 87,157)
- Orlando: Camping World Stadium. Capacity: 60,219 (expandable to 65,000)
- Philadelphia: Lincoln Financial Field. Capacity: 69,176 (expandable to 69,328)
- San Francisco: Levi’s Stadium. Capacity: 68,500 (expandable to 75,000)
- Seattle: CenturyLink Field. Capacity: 69,000 (expandable to 72,000)
- Washington, D.C.: Capacity: 82,000
Some speculate the top U.S. contender cities are New York, Los Angeles, Boston, and Dallas. Positive factors include the stadiums’ size, amenities such as retractable roofs, and prior experience hosting international games.
Trump helped secure the bid
One reason Boston is a frontrunner is Patriots owner Robert Kraft, owner of Gillette Stadium, was the North American bid’s honorary chairman. He persuaded the Trump administration to support the bid and provide the FIFA-required federal assurances.
“Thank you for all of the compliments on getting the World Cup to come to the U.S.A., Mexico and Canada,” President Donald Trump tweeted on June 15, 2018. “I worked hard on this, along with a Great Team of talented people. We never fail, and it will be a great World Cup! A special thanks to Bob Kraft for excellent advice.”
Will a U.S. team even participate?
While the United States played in 2014’s World Cup, it didn’t qualify for the 2018 tournament. Will it even compete when it hosts the 2026 games? Arguments have been made for host countries to automatically qualify. After all, FIFA would stand to make more money if all three countries hosting the 2026 games actually participate in them.
As for the other two host countries, Mexico as a country is passionate about soccer and has hosted two previous World Cups. It defeated defending champion Germany in its first game of the 2018 World Cup. Canada, on the other hand, has only qualified for one World Cup tournament in its history. It placed last among the 24 qualifying teams in 1986.
Below are the host cities in Mexico and Canada where 20 World Cup games will be held in all.
Mexico cities to host World Cup games
- Guadalajara: Estadio Akron. Capacity: 46,232 (Expandable to 48,071)
- Mexico City: Estadio Azteca. Capacity: 87,523
- Monterrey: Estadio BBVA Bancomer. Capacity: 53,500
Canada cities to host the World Cup games
- Edmonton: Commonwealth Stadium. Capacity: 56,302
- Montreal: Olympic Stadium. Capacity: 61,004 (expandable to 73,000)
- Toronto: BMO Field. Capacity: 30,000 (expandable to 45,500)
One more World Cup tournament will be held prior to the 2026 games. In 2022, Qatar is set to host the tournament. The cash-flush Middle Eastern country is constructing a brand-new city named Lusail for the event. The multibillion-dollar construction project is underway in the desert and is known as Qatar’s “Future City.”
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