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Local soccer players amped about KC’s bid for 2026 FIFA World Cup

Published: Jun. 15, 2022 at 9:35 PM CDT
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JOHNSON COUNTY, Kan. (KCTV) - A big shindig is coming to KC Live! on Thursday afternoon, where people will watch on the big screen as FIFA announces what host cities it has selected for the 2026 World Cup.

Missouri Lieutenant Governor Mike Kehoe, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas and Katherine Holland, the director for the KC2026 FIFA World Cup bid, will be at the watch party and deliver remarks after the announcement.

It’s a good sign that city leaders feel confident Kansas City will be selected. That has local amateur soccer players on the edge of their seats with excitement.

“Fingers crossed. Everything in me is like, ‘Yes, I want this to happen,’” said Ana Tripodi, who coaches youth soccer at All American Indoor Sports in Lenexa.

Asked what it would mean to them personally, players at a co-ed match there were more practical than philosophical.

“It would mean I would have to spend a couple $100 on a ticket because there’s no way I’m going to pass up getting a ticket to that game if it comes here,” said Brett Poirier.

“I’ve been playing soccer my whole life, and that’s the pinnacle right there is The World Cup,” said Trent Vaughn, who played on the opposing team.

Earlier in the day at Finesse girls’ soccer camp in Overland Park, they were already working on a World Cup vibe. The 170 girls split into teams representing different countries, each shouting cheers specific to their adopted nation as they carried that country’s flag.

For them, seeing soccer’s biggest stars would have meaning beyond economic development and excitement.

“It would be super inspiring because I know that, if I worked hard, I could get to that point,” said youth player Sofia Camacho.

Some say it would be a well-deserved reward for the region, noting that just this month Kansas City successfully hosted a match at a sold-out Children’s Mercy Park with the U.S. Men’s national soccer team taking on Uruguay.

“It’s grown so much since I was a kid, so I couldn’t see us not having it here,” said Tripodi of Kansas City’s chances.

“Maybe it’s just me, but I’m really confident. I’m very confident. It’s about time Kansas City gets its recognition,” echoed Finesse Coach Kate Gibson.

2026 will be the first time there will be more than one host country for the World Cup. It will take place in cities in Canada, the United States and Mexico. It will include 48 teams, far more than in the past. FIFA has not specified how many host cities it will select.

FIFA will make its announcement at 4 p.m. central time on Thursday.

The schedule at KC Live! is as follows:

  • 3:30 p.m. - KC Live! opens
  • 4-5 p.m. - The FIFA broadcast, based in New York, will air on the big screen
  • 5-5:30 p.m. - Kehoe, Lucas and Holland will share remarks

Attendees will need to vacate at 5:30 p.m. for the start of Hot Country Nights.

Related coverage:

EVENT DETAILS: KC to hold watch party as World Cup host cities are announced

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