The FIFA World Cup is coming to Cincinnati. Or part of it, at least.
Carl Lindner III, the majority owner of FC Cincinnati, announced via livestream Wednesday that TQL Stadium in Cincinnati's West End will host one of the 2022 World Cup Qualifying Matches for the United States Men’s National Soccer Team.
The match will take place on November 12, 2021 and the USMNT will host Mexico for what Lindner calls “one of the most significant soccer matches in the world,” according to a release.
Tickets will be limited due to the match being one of just seven home matches that will take place in the United States. To meet this demand, the USMNT released a weighted random draw to ensure that everyone interested has a fair opportunity to purchase tickets.
According to the U.S. Soccer website, U.S. Soccer Insider members (which is a $45 yearly subscription) and FC Cincinnati season ticket holders are able to apply for tickets now. Those in the public will be sent instructions on August 30 on how to apply for tickets.
Cincinnati became a major destination for U.S. Soccer due to its location being within a one-hour flight or four-hour drive to 60% of the US population, Lindner says.
“I'm thrilled that (hosting a World Cup Qualifying match) will happen so soon after our stadium has opened. The nation and the world have taken notice of Cincinnati, of our energy, of our vibrancy; we’re a sports town and we have a spirit that wants to win,” said Lindner III during the livestream.
A press release from Major League Soccer reveals that the U.S. will face off against Canada at Nissan Stadium in Nashville September 5 and will play Jamaica at Q2 stadium in Austin on October 7. Remaining matches will be announced later. The World Cup games will take place in Qatar.
Cincinnati has been vying to be a 2026 World Cup Host city and has hosted World Cup officials this year during its quest. At that time, FC Cincinnati President Jeff Berding believed that each of the 17 cities in contention was putting forth an NFL stadium that must be reconfigured in some way to fit FIFA regulations.
According to FIFA’s guide for bidding for the 2026 World Cup, host stadiums must have a seating capacity of at least 40,000 for quarter-final games, 60,000 for semi-finals and 80,000 for final matches. Paul Brown Stadium in Cincinnati has a seating capacity of 65,515. FC Cincinnati’s West End Stadium’s capacity is around 26,000.
In March, Cincinnati and World Cup officials primarily explored how to prepare Paul Brown Stadium for international soccer specifications, especially when it comes to the pitch. The game field in Paul Brown Stadium is synthetic turf, while FIFA regulations require natural grass.
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