Cindy Parlow Cone: “We definitely plan on bidding.” (Chris Jones-USA TODAY Sports)
By Michael Lewis
NEW YORK – During a five-year span in the 1990’s, the United States hosted not one but two World Cups.
The USA welcomed the world to the greatest show on earth for the men in 1994 and five years later the country held the Women’s World Cup in 1999.
In the 21st century, history could be repeated because U.S. Soccer plans on bidding for the 2027 or 2031 Women’s World Cup, according to president Cindy Parlow Cone.
“We definitely plan on bidding,” Cone said after FIFA named the 16 venues in the U.S., Mexico and Canada on Thursday evening. “Bidding hasn’t even opened up yet.”
The USA has hosted the Women’s World Cup before – in 1999, when the Americans captured their second (of four) world championships – and in 2003, when they were brought in as emergency hosts when the SARS epidemic devastated China. They finished third to Germany in that tournament.
With World Cups potentially held in so close proximity, there might be an opportunity for cities that were not selected for 2026 to become host cities. For example, Washington, D.C. wasn’t chosen for 2026, as was Cincinnati, the hometown of U.S. women’s national team standout Rose Lavelle.
“I think one of the great things that’s come out of this bid process – and I went on several of the host city visits – it’s just the level of engagement and the excitement from all the cities. It’s like nothing I have ever seen before.
“And so whether we bid on ’27 or ’31, or both, depending on how they do the bidding process – I think going through this process, hopefully won’t take as long next time if anyone’s listening out there,” Cone said with a laugh. “But I think going through this process of visiting the host cities and narrowing it down I think was really valuable. I think is going to help grow our game because now the cities that weren’t chosen, I’m really hoping that they still choose to play a major role in this World Cup.”
There are plenty of international soccer tournaments lined up.
Next year, there’s the Women’s World Cup in Australia/New Zealand. That will be followed by the 2024 Paris Summer Olympics. In 2026, the World Cup and the Los Angeles Summer Games two years later.
If the U.S. gets selected for either ’27 or ’31, it will be reminiscent of what transpired in the 1990s, when the country hosted the men’s World Cup (1994), the Atlanta Summer Olympics (1996) and the Women’s World Cup (1999).