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Philadelphia should be a favorite to host matches for 2026 World Cup

Philadelphia one of 17 cities being considered for 10 spots to host games in U.S.

From left to right: David Montgomery (Chairman, PHL Sports), Julie Coker Graham (President/CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau), Haris Medunjanin (Midfielder, Philadelphia Union), Doug Pederson (Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles), Richard Groff (Past President, U.S. Adult Soccer Association), Tim McDermott (Chief Business Officer, Philadelphia Union)

Philadelphia soccer fans could have more than the 250th birthday of the United States to celebrate on July 4, 2026.

The World Cup, awarded to the United States, Mexico and Canada by the FIFA Congress on Wednesday morning, will be played in 16 host cities in the three countries. The cities in Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterrey) and Canada (Edmonton, Montreal and Toronto) have already been selected, but the U.S. has 17 cities in the running for 10 spots.

“It’s incredible for the game in our country,” Philadelphia Union head coach Jim Curtin said during his weekly press conference on Wednesday.

Games would be played at Lincoln Financial Field, but Talen Energy Stadium and the Power Training Complex would be a likely destination as a training location for teams.

“To have it in your own home is special, is important,” Curtin said. “I see not just soccer growing but our city in general being a place people want to be.”

From left to right: Larry Needle (Executive Director, PHL Sports), Chris Branscome (CEO, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer), David Montgomery (Chairman, PHL Sports), Julie Coker Graham (President/CEO, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau), Haris Medunjanin (Midfielder, Philadelphia Union), Doug Pederson (Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles), Richard Groff (Past President, U.S. Adult Soccer Association), Tim McDermott (Chief Business Officer, Philadelphia Union), Mayor Jim Kenney (Mayor, City of Philadelphia) and Don Smolenski (President, Philadelphia Eagles)

The committee overseeing Philadelphia’s bid, which includes representatives from PHL Sports, Philadelphia Convention and Visitors Bureau, the Philadelphia Eagles, the Philadelphia Union, the City of Philadelphia, Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer and others met earlier this week to celebrate the United 2026 bid.

“We all know what hosting the World Cup in 1994 did for soccer in the United States: it legitimized the sport on a national scale and brought the game to millions of new families,” Eastern PA Youth Soccer CEO Chris Branscome stated in a news release. “I have no doubt 2026 will have a similar effect. Considering how far we’ve come since 1994, locally and globally, that’s an exciting prospect. Eastern Pennsylvania Youth Soccer looks forward to the next eight years as we help U.S. Soccer and, hopefully, the city of Philadelphia prepare to host the world.”

Baltimore and New York/New Jersey are also in the running to host. The closest venues in the 1994 World Cup were Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey and RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.

The significance of the U.S. celebrating 250 years as a nation around the same time as the World Cup would seem to give the city where the Declaration of Independence was signed a leg up already in the process. Lincoln Financial Field has been home to a number of international soccer matches, including the 2015 Gold Cup final and group matches for the Copa América Centenario in 2016.