NEW YORK (June 2, 2009) – California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, whose years of public service have been rooted in great part by his dedication to sports and fitness, today accepted an invitation 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.
As governor of California, the most populous state in the U.S. with a significant history of playing host to FIFA World Cup men’s and women’s matches, Schwarzenegger will play an influential role as a member 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.
"Soccer is the world's most popular sport and California has been home to some of its most exciting games, and I am proud to be a part of bringing the World Cup back to the United States," said Governor Schwarzenegger. "The millions of fans from around the globe that will travel to the United States to cheer their teams will prove a great benefit for our state, our nation and the world of soccer."
“Governor Schwarzenegger is a passionate and committed leader in all the projects he takes on,” said Sunil Gulati, the Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. “California is a soccer state in every sense of the word, with participation and avid support at all levels, from its vast youth system to the professional ranks. We look forward to working with Governor Schwarzenegger in our effort to bring the World Cup back to the United States in 2018 or 2022.”
Globally as well as nationally, California has been central to the United States’ profile in soccer. For example:
- The FIFA World Cup championship match in 1994 between Italy and champion Brazil was held in the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., as was the title match for the women’s FIFA World Cup in 1999 won by the U.S. over China.
- The women’s World Cup returned to the United States in 2003, where again the title was decided in California, this time with a victory by Germany over Sweden at the Home Depot Center in Carson, Calif.
- Numerous Men’s and Women’s FIFA World Cup matches have been played in Carson (The Home Depot Center), Pasadena (Rose Bowl), Palo Alto (Stanford Stadium) and San Jose (Spartan Stadium), including three World Cup finals: The 1994 FIFA World Cup final between Italy and champion Brazil was played at the Rose Bowl, the 1999 Women’s FIFA World Cup final won by the U.S. against China was played at the Rose Bowl, and the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup final between Germany and Sweden was played at The Home Depot Center.
- In 2003, U.S. Soccer’s National Training Center at The Home Depot Center opened in Carson, Calif., and is the home for U.S. national teams at all levels from Under-14 to the full Men’s and Women’s National Teams. The NTC stands as one of the great achievements in U.S. Soccer history and has established itself as the center of the soccer world in the United States.
- Los Angeles is the only city that is home to two clubs in Major League Soccer - the L.A. Galaxy and Chivas USA. Both clubs share The Home Depot Center as their home stadium.
- California has also been host to international friendlies and marquee events such as Major League Soccer’s All-Star Game and MLS Cup matches, and the recent inaugural match for the new Women’s Professional Soccer league.
- The first-ever U.S. Soccer Development Academy Showcase was held at the U.S. NTC in 2007, along with the 2008 Development Academy Finals Week. The 2009 Development Academy Finals Week will also be held at the U.S. NTC, from July 10-19.
Also, six stadiums in California are among 58 venues in the United States that are under consideration to play host to FIFA World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022 – the Rose Bowl, Stanford Stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego, Memorial Stadium in Berkeley and Oakland-Alameda County Stadium in Oakland. No other state has as many as six stadiums in the running.
In 1994, the U.S. used nine stadiums – including the Rose Bowl and Stanford Stadium – to host the FIFA World Cup, which then featured a 24-team and 52-match format compared to today’s field of 32 nations competing in 64 matches. Despite the smaller field and schedule of matches in 1994, the United States set an overall attendance mark of 3,587,538, a record that broke the previous tournament mark by more than one million fans and still stands today.
The United States is one of nine candidate nations that have formally declared their desire to host the FIFA World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and South Korea have applied only as candidates to play host 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.
Gov. Schwarzenegger joins the Board of Directors of the USA Bid Committee (watch video) that recently welcomed U.S. National Team icons Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm, as well as former U.S. Secretary of State Henry A. Kissinger. In the months ahead the USA Bid Committee 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. President Obama’s comments can be viewed at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZeCZOTFfOcA&feature=channel_page.
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, U.S. Men’s National Team player Landon Donovan, U.S. Women’s National Team former player Mia Hamm, 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.