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Is Gold Cup 2009 an audition for World Cup 2018?

us vs mexico 300x214 Is Gold Cup 2009 an audition for World Cup 2018?

Obviously the United States has hosted the Gold Cup regularly but never have more than six venues in the nation hosted Gold Cup matches in the same tournament. For 2009 however, the US will have 13 different venues hosting matches in the championship of the CONCACAF region.

Jack Warner, the ethically challenged President of CONCACAF announced last year that he wanted the US to only bid on the 2022 World Cup after England’s FA agreed to buy off Warner by having a friendly vs Trinidad and Tobago in Port of Spain. But the bottom line is not all of UEFA is behind England’s bid, and the US has more World Cup ready stadiums already built.

Another issue which FIFA must consider with regards to England is the number of stadiums that will probably be used with narrow pitches, something that may favor the Three Lions style of Football but constricts competition, and the ability of managers to use flank play effectively.

South Africa 2010 provides an opportunity for England to become the first European nation ever to win a World Cup outside Europe because the climate and pitch sizes match England’s zone of comfort.  But after a World Cup in facilities that were largely not designed for Football, will FIFA want to have a World Cup so soon thereafter held largely in facilities that only favor a certain type of football?

By utilizing so many facilities for a Continental Championship, the United States will demonstrate this summer how efficient our stadiums are, how effective our infrastructure is to quickly move national sides around the country, and how football mad certain ethnic communities are in this nation.

Previous Gold Cups held on American soil have often had limited venues and little travel between games. By having so many different first round venues this go round, the USSF can clearly demonstrate to FIFA the depth of potential venues for World Cup action the United States has

The venues for the 2009 CONCACAF Gold Cup are as follows:

First Round

3 July – The Home Depot Center (Los Angeles)

4 July – Qwest Field (Seattle)

5 July – Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum (Oakland)

7 July – Crew Stadium (Columbus, Ohio)

8 July – Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Stadium (Washington)

9 July – Reliant Stadium (Houston)

10 July – Florida International University Stadium (Miami)

11 July – Gillette Stadium (Boston)

12 July – University of Phoenix Stadium (Phoenix)

Quarterfinals

18 July – Lincoln Financial Field (Philadelphia)

19 July – Dallas Cowboys New Stadium (Dallas)

Semifinals

23 July – Soldier Field (Chicago)

Final

26 July – Giants Stadium (New York)

The majority of these stadiums have been built or substantially renovated since the US last hosted the World Cup in 1994. While some are on the smallish side capacity wise, each of the newer stadiums were built with football in mind, allowing for large pitch sizes and often times the best possible site lines for the game.


While many football fans look down on the CONCACAF Gold Cup as an event, it could be an important dry run from FIFA’s perspective for World Cup 2018.

(Photo from AP. The US defeated Mexico 2-0 at the brand new University of Phoenix Stadium in 2007)

This entry was posted in Leagues: Major League Soccer, Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

11 Responses to Is Gold Cup 2009 an audition for World Cup 2018?

  1. Joey Clams says:

    Any ground that England would use is well wide enough.

    Many American stadiums would require some modification: Giants, Philly, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Kansas City.

    We’d have to get on it, as well.

  2. dave says:

    @Joey Clams: almost all NFL stadiums built since 1994 have been built with FIFA World Cup regulations in mind, and will not need to be modified. This goes for most new NCAA stadiums, too (such as FIU).

    The current Giants Stadium, for instance, is due to be torn down once the new Giants Stadium is completed next year. The new Giants Stadium is plenty wide enough and will host FIFA World Cup matches just fine. Fact is the USA has more than enough qualified stadiums to host four simultaneous FIFA World Cups. We’ve got far too many qualified stadiums to chose from.

    I have no idea what stadiums you are referring to when you mention “Philly, Chicago, Houston, Denver, Kansas City”. Soldier Field has been hosting FIFA internationals for years without problem. I doubt Philly or Kansas City would even be considered as host cities. Phoenix and Dallas both have huge retractable roof stadiums either just completed or soon to be completed that are designed to meet FIFA World Cup specifications and are as good as or better than anything that Germany or Japan or Korea have had in recent World Cups. More new stadiums will be built before 2018 or 2022, too.

    Regardless, most people expect 2018 to go to a European nation for FIFA political reasons. USA is probably the front runner for 2022.

  3. Cavan says:

    I know for a fact that Lincoln Financial (NFL Philadelphia Eagles home) was built with soccer in mind. It has hosted many international club friendlies.

    As was FedEx (home of NFL Washington Redskins). DC United hosted Chelsea in a friendly there in 2005 and it worked just fine. In the instance of a future World Cup, the final should be held there, since Washington DC is our capital and all.

    Same with Gillette, although it would need some temporary grass laid down.

    Every NFL stadium built since 1995 or so has been designed to be wide enough for international soccer. It would not be too much of a problem.

  4. Joey Clams says:

    Sorry, Dave, but unfortunately you’re wrong.

    Giants Stadium required a special waiver from Fifa in 94. Such was Fifa’s strictness prior to that, that the NY group had considered using the Yale Bowl (after modifications) or Aqueduct Race Track. When Fifa finally gave its blessing to Giants, the people in Dallas were pissed off because they had spent money to widen the pitch at the Cotton Bowl, as was the case at Foxboro and Pasadena.

    For a while, post 94 stadiums were built to acommodate soccer. But since then, many have built that are not wide enough for a World Cup.

    The new Soldier Field has hosted Concacaf events. But the field is too narrow for a World Cup. Supposedly, the seats in the corners are retractable but I’ve yet to see a game for which the field has been widened.

    Philadelphia could certainly be use as a three-venue Northeast cluster, with the new Giants and Foxboro, provided, of course, that DC / MD forms part of a Southern cluster or is used for latter round games. The field at Philly would have to be widened.

    Anyway, the field at FedEx would have to be widened.

    Fifa was infatuated with Arrowhead Stadium back in the day. George Thoma grew a grass Fifa logo in the end zone. Lamar Hunt owned the rights to operate the place. But field expansion required the removal of eight rows of seats. IF, KC is considered again – it is, after all, an MLS town – its field would have to be widened.

    The fields at Houston and Denver – both MLS towns – would have to be widened.

    I see no problems with Foxboro, Baltimore ( a long shot but you never know) Charlotte, Nashville, Tampa, Miami, Cleveland, the new Dallas, Phoenix or Seattle.

    The various domes offer possibilities. Atlanta and Detroit appear suitable, although they may need some widening.

    With all due respect, Pittsburgh and Indianapolis will face too much competition from larger cities or cities or states with MLS teams (Cleveland, rather than Cincinnati representing Ohio, given the lack of an adequate facility in Columbus).

    California is still way up in the air. Neither the LA area nor the Bay area now have ideal venues for the World Cup. Fifa was not too happy with the Rose Bowl, remember.

    My point is that, despite the impressive number of ultra-modern stadiums in the US, the idea that we can put something together in a week is just wrong.

  5. Joey Clams says:

    Sorry, Cavan. That’s wishful thinking. The Lincoln is perhaps the best example of a stadium that had soccer “in mind” but fell short.

    The angle of of the stands is such that there’s plenty of room at the 50 / center line but inadequate space along the end zone / end line.

    LFF has hosted games. But the layout of the playing surface for those matches was pathetically lacking. I think that of one of the Man U matches the field was only 66 yards wide.

    LFF would have to do something about the corners. I don’t care how many times the broads play Ireland there.

  6. Kevin says:

    Cavan, another reason a World Cup Final should be there is that it can hold 90K+ people in it. I was at the Chelsea/DCU game at Fed Ex and for only filling the lower bowl it was louder than any Redskins game I have been to.

    I would love to see it there.

  7. Joey Clams says:

    I’d support a DC final, a Fed Ex final. Fifa normally likes involvement from a capital city and, hey, DC has established itself as a hotbed for the sport.

    They’d have to remove some seats at Fed Ex, especially in the corners. But they could do that without to much trouble. Even before the addition of field level seat at Fed Ex, however, the corners were a little tight. They can work that out.

  8. eplnfl says:

    Do not forget the 2016 Olympics in the mix here. The submitted plan calls for the soccer matches to be played at regional sites like last year in China. you can check out the entire venue plan online BTW.

  9. maria says:

    ha ha ha

  10. Joey Clams says:

    Thanks, eplnfl.

    Maria, what’s the chuckle about?

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