Sports

Commentary: Give Northwest’s passionate soccer followers a giant help for bringing the World Cup to Seattle


Those cheers you heard in case you had been strolling down thirty sixth Ave. in Fremont? It was solely about 10% pleasure.

Yes, the patrons at The George and Dragon Pub had been pumped that the most important sporting occasion on this planet is coming to Seattle, however that different 90% — that was aid.

All the logic on this planet couldn’t present consolation to the soccer diehards whose each emotion held on Thursday’s announcement. All the predictions from pundits had been irrelevant to those that had satisfied themselves that they had been about to be spurned.

But when it turned official — when FIFA revealed on Fox Sports 1 that Seattle could be among the many host cities for the boys’s 2026 World Cup — the Emerald City’s premier soccer bar screamed as if their workforce had simply scored the equalizer within the ninetieth minute.

“I was very nervous, but now I’m very excited. It was a big weight dropping off my shoulders. It’s really nice that it’s coming to Seattle. It’s something I’ve been waiting for for most of my life,” mentioned Dan Pagard, co-owner of the George and Dragon. “It’s gonna be great in so many ways. People are going to come to Seattle when they never even thought they were going to visit because of the World Cup. They’re going to fall in love with the city and tell all their friends about it.”

Before the 16 host cities — which embody three in Mexico and two in Canada — had been revealed, FS1 broadcaster and former U.S. Men’s National Team defender Alexi Lalas gushed concerning the inimitable expertise that’s the World Cup. He instructed his broadcasting associate that the event “changes countries, changes cultures and changes cities.”

It’s attainable that, except for the Olympics, no occasion can spotlight a metropolis fairly just like the World Cup. And in contrast to Los Angeles or New York, Seattle hasn’t had its worldwide close-up.

The income is one factor. Visit Seattle’s early — very early — estimate is that the World Cup will deliver between $90-100 million into the 206. But greater than that, there’s the worldwide publicity.

Regardless of which nationwide groups will compete right here, or what number of video games Seattle will host, there may very well be upward of a billion eyeballs zeroed in on this city. They’ll see the waterfront, they’ll see the greenery, and as a lot as something, they’ll see that the Puget Sound area’s ardour for the attractive sport is as much as the worldwide normal.

“I think it’s going to show folks that we really are a soccer town,” longtime Seattle resident Charlie Crawford mentioned from his seat on the George and Dragon.

His spouse, Patti, was a bit pithier.

“This city is going to lose its mind,” she mentioned.

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer echoed Patti’s prediction whereas standing on Pier 62 a pair hours after the announcement. That was the epicenter of Thursday’s celebration, the place Washington Gov. Jay Inlsee, Seattle Mayor Bruce Harrell and Sounders proprietor Adrian Hanauer, amongst others, addressed the general public.

Schmetzer referred to as his expertise watching World Cup video games in California 28 years in the past “life changing.” And he is aware of the magnitude of the occasion blended with the vitality of Seattle can spawn an atmosphere in contrast to something this city has ever seen.

“What we’re going to do is we’re going to take the local Seattle scene and we’re going to multiply it by 10 or 20,” Schmetzer mentioned. “It’s just going to be a massive deal.”

A pair minutes later, a reporter identified the picturesque climate Seattle was having fun with Thursday afternoon and requested Schmetzer “how perfect” it will be to have a World Cup sport performed in related circumstances.

“It’s gonna be better than perfect,” he mentioned.

It took loads of manpower and vitality to make this occur. Politicians, traders and different energy brokers all performed their position in solidifying Seattle as a 2026 World Cup host metropolis. But as a lot as something, it was the residents of this city.

Last month, practically 69,000 folks poured into Lumen Field to look at the Sounders declare the CONCACAF Champions League title in opposition to the Mexico City-based Pumas. If FIFA was 99% positive Seattle was worthy of the World Cup earlier than that match, it was 990% positive afterward.

No doubt Seattle generally is a fair-weather sports activities city. But few cities match its fervor when the stakes are at their highest.

So relaxation assured Hanauer was talking for the entire Emerald City when he grabbed the mic on the waterfront Thursday, beamed on the crowd and mentioned — “we did it.”



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