Years of hard work came to fruition on Thursday night when FIFA, the global governing body of soccer, announced Atlanta, Georgia as one of the host cities for the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
For the first time in history, the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be played in three countries: Canada, Mexico and the United States. Atlanta is among 11 cities in the U.S. selected to host matches. The other U.S. cities are Seattle, San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, Kansas City, Dallas, Houston, Boston, Philadelphia, Miami and New York/New Jersey. The cities that will also host during the month-long tournament are Vancouver and Toronto in Canada and Mexico City, Guadalajara, and Monterrey in Mexico.
With today’s historic announcement, Atlanta will become only the second city in the U.S. to have hosted a Summer Olympics, Super Bowl and World Cup, joining Los Angeles. More than 30 years after Atlanta failed to earn hosting rights for the 1994 World Cup, Thursday’s announcement was the culmination of a vision by Atlanta United owner Arthur Blank and city leaders to bring the single biggest sporting event to the city of Atlanta.
Today, Atlanta is one of the fastest growing, culturally diverse cities in the country, and soccer has always been a part of the city’s DNA. From the first professional team, the Atlanta Chiefs, to the Silverbacks, the Beat (women’s pro soccer), soccer has always had a place in the city. In the early 2000’s, international matches at the old Georgia Dome became a regular occurrence and provided a launching point for the next wave of soccer fandom in Atlanta. Whether it was the U.S. Men’s or Women’s National Teams, the Mexican National Team or club friendlies, matches at the Georgia Dome were well attended.
At the grassroots level, soccer continued to become a bigger factor, thriving inside and outside the perimeter. Eventually, the boom of youth soccer caught the attention of Arthur Blank, who had a vision for a new stadium, a stadium that would host major events like the Super Bowl, a FIFA World Cup and a new professional Major League Soccer team.
And the rest, as they say, is history.
Atlanta United became a smashing success, not only on the pitch and in the city of Atlanta, but the 5-Stripes caught the eyes of soccer fans around the globe with attendances that rival those in the Premier League, Bundesliga and other top leagues around the world.
After FIFA announced the “United 2026” as the winning bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in June 2018, the city united to bring the World Cup to Atlanta. A total of 16 cities in the U.S. bid for the 11 spots, and Atlanta’s bid ranked among the favorites.
So, after all those years of planning, countless hours spent on virtual meetings, facility tours, etc., Atlanta can finally tell FIFA and the world… We Ready.
See you in 2026.
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