Viva Miami!

The U.S. World Cup bid commission just put together a list of U.S. metros to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022 and guess who made the cut….Miami! And with recent plans to renovate Dolphin Stadium and a brand new stadium for the Florida Marlins, the timing couldn’t be better for the Magic City.

The committee previously had its eyes on 29 cities and recently narrowed it down to 18. They will ultimately whittle it down to about a dozen. Cities in the running include Atlanta, San Diego, Phoenix, Dallas, Seattle, Denver, Tampa, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Nashville, Kansas City, Houston, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., Boston, and New York.

“By virtue of the quality of our cities and stadiums, it was very difficult to reduce the field to the maximum of 18 established by FIFA,” said David Downs, Executive Director of the USA Bid Committee. “We consider it a meaningful indicator of the significant growth of soccer in this country that we can put forth such a technically sound bid without four cities that served as hosts for the first FIFA World Cup in the United States in 1994. The emergence of passionate followings for the sport and state-of-the-art venues throughout the country has strengthened our ability to put together a truly national bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022.”

The bid book will be submitted to FIFA in May of 2010 for a December 2010 decision. Included cities will help plan site visits from FIFA reps in September.

“The United States is equipped and ready to offer FIFA the opportunity to host a passionate and successful World Cup where fans, teams, partners and media can experience the beautiful game at its highest level while allowing the world soccer family to focus on the utmost mission of the game that benefits the World as a whole,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer.

In 1994, games were played at venues in nine cities including Los Angeles, Detroit, San Francisco, New Jersey, Orlando, Chicago, Dallas, Boston and Washington, D.C.