The Sounders play two games this week – one against Vancouver on Tuesday and one against LAFC on Saturday. The matches represent a restart in the club’s award season the past two weeks.
But those competitions aren’t what rabid soccer fans in Seattle have been worrying the most this week. They are all looking forward to Thursday afternoon, when FIFA will decide whether this beautiful city will host the beautiful game on the world’s largest stage.
The 206 isn’t exactly a newbie in terms of the international spotlight. Popular movies, TV shows, world fair – all will draw attention to this sea city. But will Seattle be the host city for the 2026 Men’s World Cup? Do you want to bring the rest of the world into Puget Sound for the most respected sporting event on Earth?
It’s the kind that – with the right game or two – can turn a city from famous to legendary.
“I’d be very excited to see a game at Lumen Field,” Sounders coach Brian Schmitzer said. “I still remember ’94, I was there – I went to two games in 1994 [in California]They were truly life-changing moments. I didn’t know exactly what to expect, but the whole area around the stadium … the fans, everyone is coming, the nationalities, you know, football is a global sport – the atmosphere was really great.”
Will this happen? likely. Maybe one step above maybe. But nothing is guaranteed. For example, Seattle has established itself as one of the best soccer cities in America. Atlanta United FC is the only club in the MLS to regularly beat the Sounders. Not only will the audience consist only of locals, but the idea of having one empty seat in Lumen for an event of this size seems impossible.
Second, the city lies not far from Vancouver, British Columbia – which appears to be closed to hosting World Cup matches four years from now. When the United States first won the hosting of the World Cup, there was concern that Seattle’s isolation in the Pacific Northwest might prevent FIFA from choosing it as the host venue due to travel concerns. But given that it’s just below I-5 from its northern neighbor, the site looks almost advantageous now.
Third, areas of practice abound. The Sounders will open a new facility in Renton in 2024, and the venues at Starfire Sports in Tukwila will likely remain after that – and there are countless other venues (the US team trained in Seattle U before Copa America) relatively close to downtown .
And finally – Seattle demonstrated what it could do with a high-profile international last month by pressuring 68,741 people at Lumen Field for the CONCACAF Champions League Final – doing so in front of FIFA President Gianni Infantino, no less.
Perhaps this is part of the reason for Yahoo! Sports writer Henry Bushnell listed Seattle as one of eight cities that “will (almost) host matches for the 2026 World Cup”.
The Sounders goalkeeper agrees.
“I think we made our case, and if we did [Seattle] you do not understand [hosting honors]“I would be very disappointed,” said Stefan Fry. “So they [FIFA] You don’t get the chance in this city, then there are other things at play.”
And you never know about that other stuff. No one from FIFA will be considered saints anytime soon. In 2015, seven FIFA officials were arrested in Switzerland on suspicion of taking bribes worth $150 million. This year’s World Cup will be held in Qatar – which is not very respected in terms of human rights.
Seattle is also not among the top 10 markets in the US. It may matter. He. She should not be It’s significant given his passion for football and sports in general, but there’s always the possibility – just like in 1994 – that he will be passed over.
The ad will air on Fox Sports (TBD channel) and begin at 2 p.m. Thursday. FIFA will choose between 16-19 cities in North America to host the World Cup matches, including 10-12 in the United States.
As Schmetzer said, the World Cup coming here would be “a huge, huge statement about how involved football is in our society, or how society is involved in our sport. I think you can say it either way.”
We find out on Thursday whether Seattle will be a part of history or if it will be the recipient of heartbreak. My bet is on the first. If the powers that be will hand over to this city, then the city will hand it over to them.