Tampa in running to host 2026 World Cup

FILE - In this Sunday, July 13, 2014 file photo, German players reach out to touch the trophy after the World Cup final soccer match between Germany and Argentina at the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Morocco will bid to host the 2026 World Cup, giving a joint bid from North America some competition. The Morocco Football Federation announced its intention to bid on Friday, Aug. 11, 2017 the deadline for countries to express their interest. (AP Photo/Matthias Schrader, File)

TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) – Could the 2026 World Cup be coming to Tampa? It is possible.

Tampa is one of 25 American cities named as finalists for hosting the international competition, the United States Soccer Federation announced Wednesday afternoon, with Miami and Orlando being the closest geographical rivals.

Thirty-two cities were selected across the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

“As we move forward to the next stage of the bid process, we’re even more confident we have everything needed to deliver the largest, most compelling FIFA World Cup in history,” United Bid Chairman Sunil Gulati said in a press release. “We have more than double the number of cities required to stage matches in 2026.”

Officials announced Tampa as a finalist after assessing dozens of applications from cities around the world, looking at soccer enthusiasm as well as logistics, such as lodging, training facilities and transportation.

Representatives from each of potential host city will meet next month in Houston, Texas where further plans will be announced.

“The 32 cities that we have identified as potential host cities, on their own and together, are prepared to welcome soccer fans from around the world,” said John Kristic, the Executive Director of the United Bid Committee. “They are more than capable of helping fulfill the shared vision and ambition of FIFA and the United Bid in shaping the future of soccer in North America.”

United States (25)

Atlanta, Georgia | Baltimore, Maryland | Boston, Massachusetts | Charlotte, North Carolina | Cincinnati, Ohio | Chicago, Illinois | Dallas,  Texas | Denver, Colorado | Detroit, Michigan | Houston, Texas | Kansas City, Missouri | Las Vegas, Nevada | Los Angeles, California | Miami, Florida | Minneapolis, Minnesota | Nashville, Tennessee | New York, New York | Orlando, Florida | Philadelphia, Pennsylvania | Phoenix, Arizona | Salt Lake City, Utah | San Francisco, California | Seattle, Washington | Tampa, Florida | Washington, DC

Canada (4)

Edmonton, Alberta | Montréal, Québec | Toronto, Ontario | Vancouver, British Columbia

Mexico (3)

Guadalajara, Jalisco | Mexico City, Mexico | Monterrey, Nuevo León

It’s still unclear where teams will play if Tampa is selected.

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