The Press Attaché at the US Embassy in Ghana, Mr Kevin J. Brosnahan, says he is earnestly looking forward to the next FIFA World Cup which he believes will serve as another massive boost to the country’s Major League Soccer (MLS).
The 23rd FIFA World Cup tournament – to be contested by 48 teams (expanded from 32) from six confederations, will be co-hosted by Canada, Mexico and the United States from June 8 to July 3, 2026.
“Without doubt, the tournament will serve as a huge boost to the US Major League Soccer as it is expected to produce a new generation of soccer fans to the game.
“Indeed, when the United States hosted the World Cup in 1994, it introduced a whole new generation to the game. It also helped to build a long-term support for the league with teams in many major cities,” he said, stressing that with Mexico and Canada co-hosting, there will be another great opportunity to introduce more young people to soccer.
The United States – who upstaged a rival bid by Morocco during the final vote at the 68th FIFA Congress in Moscow, will host 60 matches, including all games from the quarterfinals stage, while neighbouring Canada and Mexico will each make do with 10 matches in a tournament that would, for the first time, be hosted by three nations.
Mr Brosnahan, an avid soccer disciple, described the recently-ended 2022 Qatar World Cup tournament – won by a Lionel Messi-led Argentina, as one of the most exciting he had ever seen, bemoaning the elimination of the US team at the Round of 16 stage.
Despite demonstrating great attacking talent, the USA were knocked out by Netherlands 3-1, having earlier drawn with England and Wales – and defeating Iran in group play.
“Naturally, we were sad to see the US team eliminated, but proud of their superb performance and general sportsmanship. I strongly believe they shall improve in future competitions.
“As you know, our senior women team has won the World Cup four times; so there’s some comfort in there for us,” added the US Press Attaché, who played soccer at the cadet level – and was in Brazil for the 2014 World Cup tournament as well.
The MLS was founded on December 17, 1993 as part of the United States’ successful bid to host the US ’94 FIFA World Cup. The inaugural season roared off in 1996 with 10 teams, rising to 28 in all – years later, following the addition of three clubs from Canada.
A new outfit – St Louis City SC, will join the MLS as the 29th club for the 2023 season with an extra team expected to be added, months later – and ultimately expanded to a 32-club league.
BY JOHN VIGAH