The FIFA World Cup is set for a return to the United States in 2026 following Wednesday’s vote by the sport’s governing body awarding the event to a joint three-country bid submitted by the United States, Canada, and Mexico. Despite earlier interest, Chicago will not be among the cities to host matches.
Although Chicago’s Soldier Field was listed as one of 25 potential U.S. venues in the fall, local officials withdrew their bid months later, citing concerns reported the Chicago Tribune:
“FIFA could not provide a basic level of certainty on some major unknowns that put our city and taxpayers at risk,” said Matthew McGrath, a spokesman for Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel, in March. “The uncertainty for taxpayers, coupled with FIFA’s inflexibility and unwillingness to negotiate, were clear indications that further pursuit of the bid wasn’t in Chicago’s best interests.”
From Edmonton to Mexico City and everywhere in between, we are united.— United 2026 (@united2026) June 12, 2018
| #United2026 pic.twitter.com/1aJu4VknSU
North American cities still in the running for the 2026 World Cup are Atlanta, Baltimore, Boston, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City, Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco, Edmonton, Montreal, Guadalajara, Monterrey, Mexico City, Toronto, and Washington, D.C.
The list will eventually be whittled down to 16 finalists in an announcement expected in 2020.
Prior to its major renovation and expansion in 2003, Soldier Field was one of nine U.S. venues to jointly share the Cup in 1994 and was the site of a spectacular opening ceremony. The stadium also held the Women’s World Cup in 1999.
While Chicago’s decision to not participate in the 2026 tournament might disappoint some local fans, they still have a chance to follow all the 2018 World Cup action from Moscow, Russia at these 18 soccer-friendly bars and restaurants identified by Eater Chicago.