Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm Join USA Bid Committee to Bring FIFA World Cup to United States in 2018 or 2022
NEW YORK (May 28, 2009) – Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, two of the most decorated players in U.S. National Team history, today accepted invitations to join the Board of Directors for the USA Bid Committee in its endeavor to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.
The all-time leading scorer for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Donovan is a two-time recipient of the U.S. Soccer Athlete of the Year award and three-time MLS Cup Champion. Hamm, a two-time FIFA World Cup Champion and two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, retired from soccer in 2004 after scoring more international goals than any other player, male or female, in the history of the sport.
“The U.S. Soccer Federation has been an instrumental part of my development as a soccer player for more than a decade, so it’s an honor for me to be asked to join the USA Bid to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022,” said Donovan. “I was too young to play in the World Cup this country hosted in 1994, but all of us playing in MLS know it was the success of that event that laid the foundation for our league. I look forward to doing whatever I can to help bring the World Cup back to the United States.”
“I’m honored to join the USA Bid Committee Board of Directors and do my part to raise awareness about our bid to host the 2018 or 2022 FIFA World Cup and our country's overall passion and support for the game,” said Hamm. “As someone who has played in two Women’s World Cups on American soil – one of which we had the extreme satisfaction of winning in front of a home crowd – I know just how great a host this country can be for international soccer at its highest level of competition.”
Both Donovan and Hamm will play an influential role as members of the Board of Directors as the USA Bid Committee prepares its application and campaign to bring the world’s largest sporting event to the United States.
“Landon Donovan has been a valued part of the U.S. Soccer family since his teenage years in the residency program and throughout his illustrious career with the U.S. Men’s National Team and MLS,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman for the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “He exemplifies the development of soccer both on and off the field and represents that generation of players who have already started to fulfill FIFA’s vision for the sport in our country. His presence on our Board of Directors will do a great deal to raise awareness of our bid domestically and within the international soccer community.”
Gulati added, “There simply isn’t a better ambassador for the sport of soccer or for what it is to be an American than Mia Hamm and we are privileged to have her presence on our Board of Directors. Her incomparable talent and grace on the field is well documented, but her generosity and graciousness in promoting charity and equal opportunity off the field makes her an inspiration to which we can all aspire.”
Donovan’s connection to the U.S. Soccer Federation dates back to 1999 when he was 16 and a member of the inaugural class at the U.S. Soccer Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla. The Ontario, Calif. native quickly established himself as a rising star in the U.S. Soccer system by winning the Golden Ball at the 1999 FIFA U-17 World Championship as the tournament’s best player.
Donovan played for the U.S. in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, helping them to a fourth place finish. Having earned 108 caps since 2000, including play in two World Cups, Donovan has recorded more goals (37), assists (31) and points (105) than any other player in U.S. Men’s National Team history. He also helped the United States advance to the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
Last season’s MLS Golden Boot recipient as the league’s leading scorer, Donovan is a nine-year MLS veteran and has played for three MLS Cup Champions. His first two came with the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 and 2003 and he won another in his first season with the Los Angeles Galaxy in 2005. Donovan scored a career-high 20 goals last season for the Galaxy and has 89 for his career, along with 72 assists. In 10 games this season, he has six goals and three assists.
The most prolific female player in the history of soccer, Hamm was named the FIFA World Player of the Year the first two times the award was given. In her 13-year career with the U.S. Women’s National Team, Hamm earned 275 caps en route to setting national and international career scoring records with 158 goals, 144 assists and 460 points. Hamm became the youngest woman to ever play with the U.S. Women’s National Team when she did so in 1987 at the age of 15. Four years later she became the youngest American woman to play for a World Cup champion when she did so at the age of 19 in 1991.
A four-time NCAA Champion at the University of North Carolina, Hamm led the Tar Heels through an unparalleled period of dominance with a record of 94-1 during her career. She was twice awarded the Hermann Trophy as the top female player in college soccer. Named an All-American and ACC Player of the Year while leading the nation in scoring in each of her final three seasons with the Tar Heels, Hamm finished her career as the ACC’s all-time leader in goals (103), assists (72) and points (278).
A founding member of the Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA) in 2001, Hamm played three seasons for the Washington Freedom, concluding her professional career by winning the Founder’s Cup title in 2003. Hamm played her last international soccer match on Dec. 8, 2004, before being elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2007 in her first year of eligibility. With the launch of Women’s Professional Soccer in 2009, Hamm was further honored by having her silhouette chosen as the league’s logo.
The United States, Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022. Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain have each submitted joint bids for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments, while Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates to play host only to the tournament in 2022.
All candidates must have their bid applications to FIFA by May 14, 2010. FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee will study the bids, conduct site visits and name the two hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments in December 2010, completing a 21-month bid and review process.
Donovan and Hamm join the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee that recently welcomed former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger and in the months ahead will add additional national leaders from the sectors of sports, entertainment, government and business.
The USA Bid Committee’s efforts also recently earned the support of President Barack Obama, who has reached out to FIFA – the world's governing body of soccer – to endorse the efforts to bring the world’s largest sporting event back to the United States. In a letter to FIFA President Joseph “Sepp” Blatter and U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati, President Obama noted the role soccer played in his life as a youth, and its ability to unite people, communities and nations from every continent.
“Hosting another successful World Cup is important for the continued growth of the sport in the United States. And it is important to me personally,” President Obama wrote in his letter. “As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together. As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters’ soccer games in Chicago.”
“Soccer is truly the world’s sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe,” President Obama added. “That is why this bid is about much more than a game. It is about the United States of America inviting the world to gather all across our great country in celebration of our common hopes and dreams.”
President Obama echoed those sentiments last month in an exclusive Univision interview conducted at the White House by renowned journalist Jorge Ramos. Those comments can be viewed at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeCZOTFfOcA&feature=channel_page.
Exclusive interviews with Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm talking about the USA Bid can be viewed at: www.ussoccer.com.
ABOUT U.S. SOCCER:
Founded in 1913, U.S. Soccer has helped chart the course for soccer in the USA for more than 95 years as the governing body of the sport. In this time, the Federation’s mission statement has been simple and clear: to make soccer, in all its forms, a pre-eminent sport in the United States and to continue the development of soccer at all recreational and competitive levels. To that end, the sport’s growth in the past two decades has been nothing short of remarkable as U.S. Soccer’s National Teams have continually succeeded on the world stage while also growing the game here in the United States with the support of its members. For more information, visit ussoccer.com.
ABOUT THE USA BID COMMITTEE INC.:
The USA Bid Committee is a non-profit organization created to prepare a successful application to host the FIFA World Cup™ in 2018 or 2022 on behalf of the United States Soccer Federation. The Bid Committee will submit its comprehensive bid to FIFA by May 2010, with FIFA’s 24 member Executive Committee making a decision in December 2010. Members of the USA Bid Committee include Executive Director David Downs, U.S. Soccer President and USA Bid Committee Chairman Sunil Gulati, U.S. Soccer CEO and General Secretary Dan Flynn, Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber, former U.S. Secretary of State Dr. Henry Kissinger, former Democratic National Committee National Finance Chair Philip Murphy, and former Goldman Sachs Vice Chairman (Asia) Carlos Cordeiro.