Seattle will be one of sixteen cities playing host to the FIFA World Cup in 2026, with matches being played at Lumen Field. The announcement aired live in the afternoon on June 16th, and a celebration of the selection took place that evening. While there's a lot that is still being decided, here's what you need to know about the World Cup heading to Seattle.
Soccer in Seattle
If you are at all plugged in to the world of soccer, you probably already know what a huge soccer town Seattle is. Seattle is home to the Seattle Sounders FC, who have won the Major League Soccer Championship title twice and the CONCACAF Championship once, becoming the first American team to win that title. Sounders fans are so raucous that during the CONCACAF Finals match, their celebrations at each of the three goals scored registered as seismic events at five times the background level of vibration.
Starfire Sports, the practice facility of the Sounders, has also been home to matches for the team, and is an incubator for the sport in the region. Kelyn Rowe, currently a midfielder for the Sounders, grew up in the area and played many matches at Starfire as a youth player. Now, he's playing for his hometown team.
With homegrown talent and fanaticism that only Pacific Northwest sports fans can offer, it's no wonder that the fan environment was the first thing commentators were talking about when discussing why Seattle was selected. As Governor Jay Inslee pointed out during the celebrations on Thursday night, other host cities had their stadiums and infrastructure praised first and foremost, but the heart, soul, and fanaticism of the people of the Pacific Northwest were what compelled FIFA's choice to host games here.
World Cup 2026
While we don't know yet just how many games Seattle will be hosting in 2026, what we do know is that we will be playing host to the world as spectators come to cheer on their teams. 2026 will be the first year that the field of competition is expanded to allow 48 countries to compete for the World Cup, which is part of why so many venues are needed to host this massive event. Seattle is one of sixteen total host cities across North America, with eleven here in the United States, three in Mexico, and two in Canada. These sixteen host cities have been split up into three regions:
While we may have to wait until next year to find out exactly how many games Seattle will be playing host to, we can look forward to 2026 with a lot of excitement. With so much attention on using Light Rail to travel to the games, Seattle Southside will be an ideal place to stay during the games.