Nashville makes strong case for World Cup 2026 host city

One more thing about the mixed zone, and that is as we were all leaving, one of the Mexican media members came up to Jeff Carlisle and said that Tuca Ferretti didn’t think Angel Zaldiver should have been shown a red card because it’s just a friendly. Sensing an opportunity to dispense some refereeing wisdom, I immediately jumped in and said that it was 100% a red card for serious foul play because it was a studs up challenge that endangered the safety of an opponent (which is exactly I would have had to write it up in a misconduct report) and it didn’t matter that it was a friendly because the laws of the game are the laws of the game and cannot be selectively applied from game to game. Everybody there just kind of turned and looked at me like I was from Mars.

And with that, I walked out the door, went to the media lot, got in my car and proceeded to drive home. I didn’t get home until 2:30AM.

Thoughts on Nashville

One final thing I want to leave you with is an impression of Nashville as a soccer town. Just about everybody I interacted with on Tuesday was of the opinion that Nashville should, and will, be a host city for the 2026 World Cup. Since I talked to a variety of people, there were a variety of reason as to why they all thought it can or should happen. The folks in the Memphis Tigers tent from Jackson, TN said that Nashville is a just a short drive from a number of places (Memphis, Birmingham and Louisville were all used as examples). The guys from Nashville who welcomed me into their tent pointed out the great soccer crowds in the last few years, as well as the success of Nashville’s USL crowds (they regularly sell out First Tennessee Park). The reporter from the Associated Press at the press conference in August brought up that Broadway just across the river in downtown Nashville as one of the best party spots in the country and a great place for pre-game and post-game festivities.

Personally, I think Nissan Stadium is a fantastic venue for soccer. It’s a great location and has a grass playing surface. It’s also wide enough to accommodate a full size soccer field. And, of course, everybody is of the opinion that it would be a great spot for World Cup games because they would all get a chance to go.

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