Friday, April 10, 2009

Dream Stadium Sites for World Cup '18 or '22

Today, the USSF released a preliminary list of about 70 stadia that could possibly be used if the U.S. won the right to host the World Cup in 2018 or 2022, which they have bid for. The list ranges from old NFL stadiums to new NFL stadiums to iconic college stadiums.

That got me thinking: which stadia would make the cut in my ideal list for another World Cup in the U.S.? Well, let's take a look:

1. Ford Field or Michigan Stadium, Detroit, MI: Michigan Stadium would have to be widened to host a World Cup match, but if it was able, you'd easily have one of the largest attendances ever. Michigan Stadium will once again become the largest stadium in the U.S. in 2010 and the 4th largest in the world that's not a racetrack. To cram 114,000 people into Michigan Stadium for a match would be incredible. If not Michigan Stadium, Ford Field would be a great alternative for the Detroit area. An international city, and a stadium that has a history of hosting big-time events in style (Super Bowl, Final Four, biggest Wrestlemania ever)

2. New Cowboys Stadium, Arlington, TX: This is a no-brainer. The best new stadium out there, "JerryWorld", as some people call it, can seat up to 100,000 for games. It hasn't even opened yet, and the list of major events that will occur in the stadium already runs the length of the Red River. The final would probably be here.

3. New RFK Stadium, Washington, DC: Since FedEx Field's field is too small, unless it is widened, a renovated or rebuilt RFK should host some games. Great atmosphere, great soccer fans, and our nation's capital...can't get better than that.

4. Reliant Stadium, Houston, TX: Hosted several soccer matches and major events (Super Bowl, Final Four). The stadium would be full, and it's one of the world class stadiums in the U.S.

5. Qwest Field, Seattle, WA: Natural grass would have to be laid down for this, but if so, a great place to host a match. Rabid soccer fans up there, and by 2018 or 2022, the Pacific Northwest will be a major hotbed for soccer in this country.

6. Lucas Oil Field, Indianapolis, IN: Another brand new stadium that is earning rave reviews for its game experience. Indianapolis is kind of a random place to have a major event like the World Cup, but it is two hours from Chicago and it's an amazing stadium.

7. Soldier Field, Chicago, IL: Has hosted many soccer matches, and has undergone a major renovation to make it one of the world class stadiums in this country. Plus, it's in Chicago, a great tourist city and a city that can host major events

8. Rose Bowl, Pasadena, CA: I think the Rose Bowl would have to undergo major renovations, but if it does, it would probably host a quarterfinal match. Great for the LA area, a great tourist area and also an area that has hosted many a world event, including a World Cup final and 2 Womens World Cup finals.

9. Beaver Stadium, University Park, PA: Beaver of the biggest stadiums and best stadiums in America. 4th biggest stadium in the world (until it is overtaken by Michigan Stadium once again in 2010), and would be extremely loud. It's in the middle of nowhere, but for a fantastic atmosphere, what better place to play than there?

10. Ben Hill Griffin Stadium, Gainesville, FL: Again, tremendous atmosphere...some rate it among the best in sports. It would definitely be a great place for people in the south to head to. Close to Tampa, Jacksonville and Orlando, and about 5.5-6 hours from Miami for tons of attractions.

11. University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, AZ: Another new stadium that has hosted many major events, including many soccer matches (a couple U.S.-Mexico matches as well). It would be a great place to have a semifinal match.

12. New Giants Stadium, E. Rutherford, NJ: Will service the NYC area, but also get people traveling to all the major cities in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic corridor...NYC, Philly, DC, Boston. Will be an 80,000 seat stadium that will probably host a quarterfinal or a semifinal match.

13. Lincoln Financial Field, Philadelphia, PA: See Giants Stadium.

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