SEATTLE — In 3 years’ time, the Emerald City will be packed with soccer fans from across the globe as the 2026 World Cup gets underway. Seattle began its countdown to the biggest tournament in sports as local and state leaders raised the city’s World Cup logo flag atop the space needle Thursday afternoon.
Several players with the Sounders and National team chimed into the excitement already in the Puget Sound.
“It’s a sports city and Seattle is very deserving of having a World Cup game here,” Seattle Sounder Cristian Roldan said.
“Having games at home and playing in front of your fans? That will obviously give you an edge, but there will just be an excitement around it,” Seattle Sounder and USMNT member Jordan Morris said.
But of course, local and state leaders are also embracing the world sport as they expect a massive economic boom during the Cup.
“But what FIFA gives us is an opportunity to again pull from all over the world. People are coming here to beautify the city to add a certain flair to it if you will,” Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell said.
But with that excitement, comes a little bit of nerves as the city and other parts of the state continue to prepare for the world stage.
“We are dealing with mental illness, health crisis, fentanyl misuse, and abuse,” Harrell said.
Harrell also told KIRO 7 about how he hopes to see more improvements in infrastructure and public transit as they prepare for the millions coming in.
“We know we have a lot of work to do in the city, but you are seeing an optimism. And I think that is what FIFA will present to our city,” Harrell said.
And while there is a lot of work to do, many believe the payoff will be huge in the end.
“But that’s the exciting part of it. We want to be on the World Stage and we want to prove that Seattle deserves to be in that spot and showcase all that is special about our region,” Beth Knox with the Seattle Sports Commission said.
One thing many pointed out during Thursday’s press conference is they believe the World Cup can not only bring in a ton of soccer fans, but can be a momentum boost for the city as well.
“I want to see remnants of this great event here even beyond,” Harrell said.
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