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(INDIANAPOLIS) – The U-S will host soccer’s biggest event in 2026, but Indianapolis won’t be part of it.

Indy was one of 48 cities which applied as host cities for the World Cup if a joint bid from the U.S., Mexico and Canada succeeded. The North American bid did win, but Indy’s already missed the cut. The host committee will choose 16 cities from among 23 finalists. The only one guaranteed to host is East Rutherford, New Jersey, which will host the championship at MetLife Stadium, the home of the NFL’s New York Jets and Giants. 

60 of the 80 tournament games will be played in the U-S, with 10 apiece in Canada and Mexico. Your closest potential opportunity to catch a game is Cincinnati.

The last World Cup in the U-S was 24 years ago, and led to the creation of Major League Soccer, which began play two years later. Ersal Ozdemir, owner of the minor-league Indy Eleven soccer team, predicts another boost for the sport in the U-S from the flood of publicity which will accompany the years leading up to the tournament.

Ozdemir says the ’94 tournament is still the most-attended World Cup ever, drawing nearly four-million spectators. He predicts the return engagement in 2026 will break that record. 

The U.S. failed to qualify for this year’s World Cup, but will be guaranteed a spot in 2026 as the host country.

(Photo: Alex Grimm/Getty Images)