Sunday, June 7, 2015

What Cities Should Host World Cup Matches If The United States Has To Host?

What if FIFA decided to strip Russia and/or Qatar of their World Cup bids in 2018 or 2022, respectively?  That could happen if the bribery and kickback scandal reaches to the awarding of their bids.  While that would be a historic decision, it isn't one that is out of the realm of possibility.  If that did happen, there must be another country willing to step in on short notice to take on the huge task of hosting the World Cup.

The United States is one of the few countries that could pull that off.  America has plenty of available stadiums and corporate help to make an event like this happen.  So s
ay the USA is told to do such a thing.  Where would they hold the games?  What stadiums will we use?  Here is a list.  

I'm going off of stadiums that are already in place right now and would be available as early as the 2018 World Cup that is currently scheduled for Russia.  I'm also listing 12 as my picks as Russia will have that many stadiums hosting the actual World Cup.  I'm not having any city with two host stadiums either.  I also took out any baseball stadiums due to their use for the MLB season.  That knocked out some interesting picks like Yankee Stadium or Tropicana Field.

1-ROSE BOWL, PASADENA CA:  Pretty easy pick.  It's huge, historic, the weather would be nice and the city is obviously a destination place to have some matches.  The Rose Bowl also hosted the 1994 World Cup Final.  Plus, if it was hosting the 2022 World Cup, that would mark the Rose Bowl's 100th birthday. The Los Angeles Coliseum is an option but I just like the Rose Bowl better.  If the US was awarded the 2022 games, that could be enough time for one of the projected NFL stadiums in L.A. to be built and used.

2-AT&T STADIUM, ARLINGTON TX:  The Dallas Cowboys' stadium is a marvel and of any arena in the United States, this is the one we'd love to show off.  It has a retractable roof and would be an outstanding place to have the World Cup Final ... just like it has held a Super Bowl and the first College Football Playoff championship.  It is the largest non-college football stadium in the country. The Cotton Bowl would be an option but, c'mon, you gotta show off this place.

3-FEDEX FIELD, LANDOVER MD:  You have to include the stadium in our nation's capital.  Maybe it isn't the greatest stadium, but it is big and very capable of hosting World Cup matches.  RFK Stadium would bring nostalgia as well as a stadium actually in DC, but FedEx is just better.  While not in the works, there has been rumbling of the Redskins trying to get a new stadium in the near future.

4-METLIFE STADIUM, EAST RUTHERFORD NJ:  Same as FedEx Field, you have to have New York host several games.  Beautiful stadium in our largest metro area.  It has been a host of a Super Bowl, and since it hosts both the Jets and Giants, it is used to having to change up on short notice.  Yankee Stadium is the home of the New York City FC of Major League Soccer, but it won't be used during baseball season.

5-CENTURYLINK FIELD, SEATTLE WA:  We all know that Olympic and World Cup stadiums tend to have unique architecture.  This place has it.  This place is loud and a soccer lovin' city (huge MLS draw).  It is a world class city and a base for many companies.  It also allows the Cup to be featured in the Pacific northwest. Husky Field at the UW campus would also be a good spot.  

6-UNIVERSITY OF PHOENIX STADIUM, GLENDALE AZ:  Another retractable roof and another with nice architecture.  They've hosted multiple Super Bowls, multiple college football championships and will have the 2017 NCAA Final Four.  Great weather as well as a city that would feature another aspect of Americana.  Think about it.  So far we have the Hollywood of the Rose Bowl, the big size life of Texas, the history of Washington DC, the hustle and bustle of New York, the Pacific northwest and the desert area of Arizona. 

7-SUN LIFE STADIUM, MIAMI GARDENS FL:  You may not realize it, but Sun Life Stadium has had quite a run in the over two decades it's been around.  You got to have South Beach on the list and with a diverse population.  Plus it has been a Super Bowl staple.

8-GILETTE STADIUM, FOXBOROUGH MA:  Old Foxboro Stadium hosted the 1994 World Cup and I think the newer Gilette Stadium would work fine as a host.  Not to mention the cultural aspect of having the world cup in the Boston area.  It has been a staple of soccer events since its opening. 

9-SOLDIER FIELD, CHICAGO IL:  The Second City makes great sense hosting some Cup matches.  Soldier Field has a unique standing in America stadiums as it is old yet has been renovated as a basically new stadium. However, Soldier Field was rejected as a venue when the 2022 bid was up.  

10-RELIANT STADIUM, HOUSTON TX:  I'm a bit weary of having Texas with two venues, but Reliant is a perfect stadium to host World Cup matches.  Houston is different than Dallas the distance between the two cities is virtually the same as the distance between New York and Washington.  A Super Bowl city that will host next year's Final Four.

11-ARROWHEAD STADIUM, KANSAS CITY MO:  One of the most unappreciated stadiums we have, Arrowhead is a great place to watch a football game and would be great hosting a World Cup match.  It is loud, centrally located and the city is interesting.  It, like many of the others mentioned, has previously hosted soccer matches. 

12-INVESCO FIELD AT MILE HIGH, DENVER CO:  Okay, I may have gone with the whole "let's see a lot of the diversity of America" slant, and that's why I have Denver here.  You have the beautiful Rocky Mountain setting, a nice stadium and a different geographic setting.  The air will be a factor in any match played there.  Oh, and the mountains in the background.

So these are my 12 cities.  It makes the tournament spread across the country and, literally, all four corners of the nation (Seattle, LA, Miami and Massachusetts).  Joining them would be New York City, Washington, Dallas, Houston, Chicago, Denver, Kansas City and Phoenix. 

I hate that a few cities I would've loved to have it I left out.  There are reasons I did leave them out.

DETROIT:  Is Detroit the world class city it used to be?  To be honest, that's what it would come down to.  I'm not sure if Ford Field would be the right fit, but these games could be played in Ann Arbor.  When I look at the 12 cities I used, I notice that the east coast isn't as represented as much as you'd think (four cities in the Eastern Time Zone).

INDIANAPOLIS:  Right at the cut line.  Indianapolis has hosted a Super Bowl and plenty of Final Fours.  Also, due to its location, it is a good city to have teams travel around from.  

TAMPA:  Another close cut.  In 1994, the US used both Miami and Orlando for World Cup matches, so it isn't adverse to using two Florida cities.  I just think that the event would be spaced out a little bit more this time.  

SAN DIEGO:  The Chargers have spent two decades trying to get a new stadium to replace Qualcomm.  Now the Chargers are rumored to be interested in moving to a new Los Angeles stadium.  A World Cup would play in L.A. and that would be enough for the SoCal area.

BALTIMORE:  Great city, but like San Diego's proximity to L.A. hurts them, B-more's distance to Washington would hurt them.  

ATLANTA:  Atlanta would bring the American South to the mix, but where would a World Cup be played?  The Braves and Falcons are building new stadiums which could work.  Turner Field's (formerly an Olympic stadium) future is up in the air when the Braves move, but what will it be in 2022?  Plus, is Atlanta a soccer city?  

COLUMBUS:  The city has really embraced soccer and the MLS' Crew.  They even had the foresight to build a soccer-only facility.  Now, a World Cup would be played at Ohio Stadium where the Buckeyes roam, but which other city should be knocked out?

NEW ORLEANS:  No way would a World Cup game be played indoors like that.  NOLA would be an awesome World Cup city, but it would be logistically tough.  And, remember, the last big sporting event there was when the lights went out during the Super Bowl.