Watching the World Cup in Russia these past weeks has really ramped up our excitement for soccer! And it’s about to get a lot more exciting because the FIFA World Cup is coming to North America in 2026 and Washington, DC is in contention to host some games, possibly even the semi-finals, if we are named a host city.
The United States, Canada, and Mexico recently won a combined bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026, with 75% of the games scheduled for play in the US. This will be the first time, since 1994, that the World Cup was hosted in North America and the first time the World Cup has been co-hosted by three countries. FIFA anticipates record crowds. They are now evaluating 17 U.S. host cities, including Washington, DC; 10 will be selected to host World Cup games.
RFK Stadium is a possible training site for teams, with games being proposed to be played at FedExField. Of course, RFK Stadium has a long history with soccer:
- Home of D.C. United: The team recently relocated to Audi Field at Buzzard Point after a decade of unbelievable seasons from 1996 to 2017.
- 1994 FIFA World Cup: Those five games featured teams from Belgium, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Norway, Saudi Arabia, Spain, and Switzerland.
- 1996 Summer Olympics soccer games: Men’s teams from Argentina, Korea Republic, Ghana, Italy, Mexico, Portugal, Tunisia, and the United States played here, and women’s teams from Brazil, Germany, Japan, and Norway took to RFK’s field during those Games. The USA-Portugal game, which ended in a 1-1 tie, broke a stadium attendance record by attracting a crowd of 58,012.
- 2003 and 2013 FIFA Women’s World Cup: six games were played in 2003 while only one game, featuring U.S. Women’s National Team vs. Sweden, was played in 2013.
- 2013 US Men’s Soccer National Team Centennial: USMNT defeated Germany 4-3 as they celebrated 100-years of soccer tradition in America.
- Hosted more US Soccer National Team Games than any other venue in the world.
Soccer, a sport that unites the world, saw some of its most memorable games right here at RFK. As ESPN columnist Bill Simmons put it, after watching a 2010 FIFA World Cup qualifying match featuring US vs. Costa Rica at RFK Stadium, “Phenomenal crowd, upper decks hanging over the field, entire sections swaying, tons of history… It's an incredible place!”
With the World Cup coming to the U.S., and possibly DC, we look forward to watching many more classic soccer games in the future.