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As Kansas City prepares for major sporting events, World Cup bid still the goal

Soccer fans Women's World Cup
Posted at 4:42 PM, Jun 11, 2019
and last updated 2019-06-11 19:58:43-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — From the upcoming U.S. Gymnastics Championships in August to the NFL Draft in 2023, Kansas City has positioned itself as a frontrunner to host major sporting events.

Some might say anything is possible — including hosting World Cup games in 2026.

"I want to win the men's World Cup when we host in 2026,” said David Ficklin, executive director of the KC 2026 Bid Executive Committee. “I want to have some games here where (Team) USA is playing.”

The United States, Mexico and Canada are set to host the 2026 World Cup. Now, organizers are trying to determine which cities will host those games. Ten American cities will host games for the tournament, with Kansas City one of 17 possible choices.

"Well, it's the biggest event the city would ever host, and the cool thing is that we are going to get it," Ficklin said, comparing the magnitude of World Cup games to the Super Bowl.

"It would put us on a level that we otherwise would not achieve, in terms of the billions of views our city would get worldwide," he said.

While the World Cup bid remains a major goal for commission leaders, it's also on the minds of athletes in the metro.

Monsa Quiroz, 16, hopes to play in the big leagues some day.

"I've been playing my whole life," said Quiroz, who was attending a soccer camp on Tuesday.

She said hosting World Cup games would make Kansas City “the place to be” for soccer.

"That would bring a lot of excitement, especially bringing it here to the city,” Quiroz said. “It would give it a name to the city instead of anywhere else.”

A decision on the U.S. host cities will be made at the end of 2020 or early 2021, according to the Kansas City Sports Commission.