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Kathy Castor Joins Marco Rubio's Push to Get the World Cup in 2026

March 13, 2018 - 6:00pm
Kathy Castor and Marco Rubio
Kathy Castor and Marco Rubio

A second member of the Florida congressional delegation has joined the push for the U.S., Canada and Mexico to host the World Cup in 2026. 

U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Fla., is one of the four cochairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus. Last week, she and the three other cochairs--U.S. Reps. Don Bacon, R-Neb., Ruben Kihuen, D-Nev., and Darin LaHood, R-Ill.--brought out a continuing resolution in support of the U.S. hosting the event with the two other North American nations. 

“As the co-chairs of the Congressional Soccer Caucus, we have each seen how the sport of soccer not only celebrates the values of teamwork and camaraderie, but can also bridge cultural differences and foster goodwill by bringing teams and fans together across the globe,” said the four cochairs. “That is why we are proud to introduce H.Con.Res. 111, which voices the House of Representatives’ strong support for the united bid of North America to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. Hosting the games would draw millions of fans, bringing major economic benefits to the United States and shine a light on soccer’s growing popularity in North America. The 2026 FIFA World Cup would help us and our friends in Canada and Mexico capitalize on this momentum, and it is our hope that the selection committee will recognize the value North America presents and award the united bid.”

Castor is not alone in the Florida delegation in trying to get North America to host the World Cup in 2026. At the end of last month, U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., paired up with Missouri Republican Roy Blunt and Maryland Democrat Chris Van Hollen to gather more than 40 senators to sign a letter urging President Donald Trump to work with the other two North American nations to host the FIFA World Cup in 2026.

Senators from both parties signed the letter including Republicans Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Orrin Hatch and Mike Lee of Utah and John McCain of Arizona and Democrats including Cory Booker of New Jersey, Kamala Harris of California, Chuck Schumer of New York and Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. 

“We write to express our support for the United Bid by Canada, Mexico and the United States to jointly host the 2026 FIFA World Cup. We believe this effort presents an exceptional opportunity to showcase our nations’ shared passion for soccer and its positive impact in local communities and on the international stage,” the senators wrote. “Millions of Americans play or watch soccer at youth, collegiate, recreational and professional levels today. The sport spans generations, cultures, and languages – connecting fans and athletes with others across the globe who have a common love for the game. Comprising a melting pot of identities, cultures, and races, Americans proudly unite behind their team in the World Cup competition, and enjoy ties to the multiplicity of nationalities that come together for this tournament every four years.

“The 2026 FIFA World Cup, with a total of 48 participating national teams and 80 matches, will be the largest in the history of the competition,” the senators continued. “As one of three host nations, the United States would have the opportunity to deepen the relationship between our citizens and the extended global soccer community, and to further foster the spirit of sportsmanship and inclusivity that defines the sport. It would build on a successful legacy for our three nations, which together have hosted 13 FIFA-sponsored tournaments. Dozens of U.S. cities that we represent have already conveyed their interest in being part of the United Bid effort that will showcase America, promote tourism, and stimulate economic growth.

“Through a united World Cup bid, we have the opportunity to promote and celebrate the positive impact soccer has had for millions of Americans,” the senators wrote in conclusion. “We welcome your support for the United Bid to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup to North America, and we look forward to working with you to advance this important effort.”

Even with soccer becoming increasingly popular, the last time the US hosted a World Cup was back in the summer of 1994 when Orlando was the only city in Florida where a match was played. 

The World Cup’s economic impact has varied in recent years, adding $15 billion to Brazil’s economy in 2014 but only around $5 billion to South Africa’s when that nation hosted the event earlier in the decade. 

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