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FIFA World Cup 2026™️ presents "wonderful opportunity" for soccer in Seattle

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When FIFA World Cup 2026 comes to Seattle, it holds the potential to be a transformational event for our city and region.

The match allotment for each host city for the upcoming World Cup was announced by FIFA on Sunday, with Seattle holding six matches. More specifically, the Emerald City will have four group stage games – including one U.S. Men’s National Team match – as well as one game each in the Round of 32 and the Round of 16. 

“Today’s announcement has continued to build on the excitement we share for our community and the impact of hosting six matches for the FIFA 2026 World Cup,” said President of Business of Business Operations Hugh Weber. “To do so, giving fans the ability to witness the USMNT in competitive action is a rare and wonderful opportunity that we look forward to being a part of.”

Seattle was first named as a host city for FIFA World Cup 2026 back on June 16, 2022. It was a historic occasion for the city’s soccer community, bringing the biggest sporting event on the planet to the Pacific Northwest. 

Fast forward 20 months, and the reality of this monumental occasion has started to crystalize as Seattle prepares to welcome the world.

“I’ve stated previously that bringing the FIFA World Cup to Seattle is perhaps the biggest moment in the soccer history of our region, but today’s news makes that feeling all the more real,” noted Sounders FC Majority Owner Adrian Hanauer. “To be hosting FIFA World Cup matches in and of itself is a momentous thing, but to see the United States Men’s National Team playing in the Emerald City on the world’s biggest stage is an honor.”

The 1994 FIFA World Cup in the United States ignited a period of exponential growth in the popularity of soccer across our country. Despite not being a host city in 1994, Seattle has become one of the most passionate and dedicated soccer markets in America.

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Looking ahead to 2026, the next FIFA World Cup could serve as another catalyst for the beautiful game’s meteoric rise throughout our community. 

“Seattle is an incredible sports town that has supported soccer with passion at all levels for over five decades, so I see this as a reward to the fans in this community,” said General Manager & Chief Soccer Officer Craig Waibel. “On top of experiencing six games featuring the most competitive athletes in the biggest tournament on the planet, we get the once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to support our country at the World Cup in our hometown. I think about the generation of fans and players that this moment will inspire, and as a native of the Pacific Northwest, I’m humbled, thankful and excited for 2026.”

Head Coach Brian Schmetzer echoed those sentiments.

“As a Seattle resident and lifelong fan of the sport, I am ecstatic for the fans of soccer in this region,” he said. “This city will undoubtedly provide a first-class World Cup experience to all teams and fans for the six games at Lumen Field… I can’t help but think about the past generations of fans, players and coaches that that have made this region so rich in soccer tradition and history. Knowing first-hand the kind of environment that is possible within our stadium, our city, our region, it will be a one-of-a-kind experience and I cannot wait to be there.”

United States Men’s National Team Head Coach Gregg Berhalter is equally excited about the opportunity to play FIFA World Cup 2026 matches in Seattle. A veteran of both MLS and the USMNT as a player and coach, Berhalter has witnessed the unique soccer environment in the Emerald City on numerous occasions.

“Every time you go there, you have this special feeling,” said Berhalter. “The stadium was built for noise. It was built as an echo chamber to create this incredibly loud atmosphere when the fans start cheering. I mentioned about game two being a pivotal game in the group stage, and it absolutely is. And that’s why I feel really comfortable about us going up to Seattle and leveraging the 12th man in Seattle to get behind us and help us to victory.”

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