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Chicago Listed On 2026 US World Cup Bid Shortlist

John Mueller, Sophomore Writer

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Another chapter in the short but storied history of Chicago Soccer may be written in 2020 as the United Bid Committee, the combined committee of the United States, Mexico, and Canada, listed Chicago on their 32 City shortlist of potential host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. This would mean Chicago would host fans and teams from all around the globe to the city to enjoy the beautiful game at historic Soldier Field. The United Bid Committee submitted this list to FIFA to show their sincerity in their bid to host the World Cup come 2026. The Shortlist includes 25 US cities, 3 Mexican cities, and 4 host locations in Canada. The Canadian Soccer Federation celebrated the release of the shortlist with a post on Instagram, with the caption being “32 Cities, 3 Countries, One United Bid.” 


As for Chicago, the chances of the city being included in the final shortlist is very strong. Few other cities listed can offer the same amenities as Chicago can. Chicago has a venue ready for use in Soldier Field, meaning no money must be spent on building a Stadium exclusively for the World Cup. Soldier Field sold out tickets for a friendly match between Manchester United and Real Madrid, showing that the Stadium can accommodate for Soccer. The only issue with Soldier Field is that the capacity attendance is 61,500, too low to host the Final or the Opening Game of the Cup. The World Cup Final 2026 is being rumored to be played in Atlanta if the US was to earn the Cup. With Atlanta’s brand new Stadium and the recent success of MLS expansion team Atlanta United, their chances look good. Chicago has proven in the past that it can host major events for the masses. According to NBC Chicago, “400,000 people traveled downtown for Lollapalooza in 2017” and there were few issues with transportation, as the necessary adjustments were made for the crowds to get into and out of downtown.  There is no shortage of hotels and restaurants for fans and tourists alike to reside at between the matches. These factors should push Chicago into a prime position to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

What would this mean for the City of Chicago? According to Bevan Gatefield, Women’s Graduate Assistant at the University of Indianapolis and former youth coach in Chicago, it would be a start of something big.

“Everything would develop, love of the game (Soccer) would grow…This is a great opportunity for Americans to get behind their country and support their team in the 4th most played sport in America,” he stated.  The economic payoff would also be a factor, Mr Gatefield mentioned that the sales of tickets, merchandise, and other items would put money back into the city’s pocket. This seems like a no brainer for Chicago, and the fact that they are being considered despite their lack of a successful MLS team is enough proof that the US Soccer Federation sees Chicago’s potential to host a fantastic Cup.

We have seen some incredible World Cups in the past. The 2010 World Cup in South Africa was a fortnight long party with a couple soccer matches thrown in, and Brazil surprised everyone with a successful 2014 Cup. With the recent failure of the men’s Soccer team to qualify for the World Cup in 2018, 2026 may be the perfect time to prove that American Soccer is still a force, and where better to prove that then in the Second City.

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