US to be very different host from 1994
THE World Cup will return to the United States, 32 years after the groundbreaking first tournament in the country, and organisers are promising a very different experience for fans travelling to the country.
The 1994 World Cup in the US set surviving records for attendance figures thanks to the large, mostly NFL, stadiums that were used, but those who travelled to the tournament noted that the local populations were often not fully informed about the sport.
That will not be the case in eight years time.
Two years after the 1994 tournament, Major League Soccer was launched and the competition has subsequently grown to 23 teams, with clubs in all regions of the country and Canada.
The US national team failed to qualify for Russia 2018 but that was a major surprise for a country that had appeared in every tournament since 1990, reaching the quarterfinals in 2002.
Perhaps most crucially, Americans are no longer isolated from the world game and thousands of them watch Europe’s Champions League and England’s Premier League, developing a knowledge of the sport and its greatest talents.
“I don’t think there is any doubt that the American public is far more football literate whether that is because of the World Cup (in 1994) or the presence of MLS or the presence of international football on television and the changes in technology and social media that facilitate all of that,” he Sunil Gulati, a FIFA vice-president said.“People are far more literate, far more knowledgeable and far more engaged. That part is great,” he added.