Last week US Soccer began the early stages of its quest to host either the 2018 or 2022 World Cup. Eight other countries and two coalitions of countries have registered their intentions to bid, but in a country as large as America there's a bunch of cities hoping to host games.
US Soccer sent a letter to Dolphin Stadium last week, along with 70 other stadiums, to gauge their interest in hosting games. The Florida Citrus Bowl in Orlando (which hosted games in the '94 World Cup), Doak Campbell Stadium in Tallahassee,
Raymond James Stadium in Tampa, Jacksonville Municipal Stadium and Ben
Hill Griffin Stadium in Gainesville were also contacted. Stadium officials as well as local governments are expected to voice their interest in the next few weeks.
Basically, if Miami wants to see World Cup action, the US has to beat out 10 other international contenders, and Miami has to beat out 70 domestic ones. So, don't hold your breath just yet.
The 22 year-old stadium was designed with the possibility of hosting soccer games in mind, and can hold just under 75,000 people. In a conference call US Soccer President Sunil Gulati seemed more interested in stadiums yet to be built that can hold a crowd of 80k plus but he was quick to point out that doesn't mean existing stadiums are out of contention.
"Eight to Twelve stadiums possible, but we don't want to be
closed to considering a few others. I think in a country like the
United States it could ultimately be more," says Gulati.
Gulati also talked about his interest in using the World Cup to
create interest in the sport in America. While it's very possible
Miami could finally land another MLS team before 2018 or 2022 a strong
level of support for a World Cup could send a message. Miami, though,
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seems like a natural contender to host World Cup games given its strong
international population and its succesfull hosting of games in this
year's World Baseball Classic.