On the morning of Dec. 2, FIFA will announce which countries are going to host the 2018 and 2022 World Cup soccer tournaments. If the United States bid is successful, up to 12 venues across the country will host World Cup matches in 2022. As a frequent visitor to Kansas City, Kansas City Chiefs fan and former soccer player, I am absolutely thrilled the Kansas City area is one of 18 cities considered for this honor.
Kansas City, Missouri, is one of the metropolitan areas being listed as a possible hosting site. Here are five reasons why Kansas City is one of the best cities in America for World Cup action.
The NFL’s Arrowhead Stadium is one of the largest sports stadiums in the United States with a capacity of just under 80,000. It was newly renovated to be more modern as it is a classic stadium with a great view of the field and loud fans. As far as a soccer stadium that can host large numbers of fans, few can match the loud and proud fans at Arrowhead.
Sporting Kansas City of Major League Soccer
Sporting Kansas City, formerly the Kansas City Wizards, were one of the charter members of Major League Soccer in 1995. They have shown a constant commitment to the league and are even christening a brand new world class soccer stadium in 2011. Sporting Kansas City won the MLS Cup in 2000 and also had the league’s best record. Fans truly know how to support soccer in all of its forms around Kansas City.
Past Soccer Presence
Arrowhead Stadium has hosted big matches in the past. Just this past year in 2010, Manchester United of the English Premier League came to play the hometown Kansas City Wizards. In 2001 a World Cup qualifier between the United States and Costa Rica was held which Team USA won 1-0. Kansas City is ready to take their soccer fandom to the next level with a World Cup site.
Plenty of Hotels
Kansas City has plenty of hotels both downtown, near Arrowhead Stadium, and in outlying areas and suburbs. Even Blue Springs is only 25 miles from the stadium and can add hotels to the mix. Hosting a World Cup match or two will be a huge financial asset to the Kansas City area.
One of the best things about Kansas City are the restaurants. Kansas City is known for its barbecue as it was one of the end points for cattle drives. KC Masterpiece restaurants are gems of Kansas City. Yes, it’s the same restaurant which makes their famous sauce. There are also plenty of soccer bars in the area if you can’t get tickets. The 810 Zone is a chain of three sports bars and gathering places all over the area and is partially sponsored by a local sports radio station.
The only downside I can see to Kansas City hosting is a lack of a light rail system. In 2008, area voters defeated a proposed light rail system. St. Louis already such a wonderful light rail system in place and Kansas City would surely do well to have one. Perhaps hosting a World Cup in 12 years will give Kansas City residents a quality light rail mass transit system they can be proud of.
Kansas City should still be able to host a World Cup match to give fans in the Midwest a taste of the greatest soccer in the world. The fans are great, the area is great, plus it is centrally located with an international airport and has major highways criss-crossing the city.
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