Insider Notes: USA's joint bid for World Cup 2026 could come in April

1:21 | Planet Futbol
How Donald Trump could affect the United States' bid for 2026 World Cup
Saturday March 25th, 2017

The official announcement of a U.S. bid to host World Cup 2026 could come as soon as April, a source says.

I’m also told that support continues to build for the U.S. bidding along with Mexico and Canada to share that World Cup and its 48 teams, with the 2026 edition the first of the new expanded format unanimously approved by the FIFA Council in January.

MLS commissioner Don Garber, who’s also a U.S. Soccer board member, says that he supports the U.S. sharing that World Cup with its neighbors.

The CONCACAF region is the favorite to host in 2026, as it hasn't hosted the World Cup since the USA did in 1994. Between then and 2022, the competition will have been hosted in Europe three times, Asia twice and South America and Africa once apiece.

FIFA president Gianni Infantino did warn earlier this month that any nation's bid must guarantee full access for players from all qualifying nations and officials, which is more pertinent in light of President Donald Trump's executive orders banning visas for visitors and immigrants from select countries.

Elsewhere in the soccer world:

Wheels are in motion for another combined Copa America in USA for 2020

Saturday March 25th, 2017

The wheels are in motion to bring another combined North and South American Copa América to the United States in 2020.

Last year’s Copa América Centenario was a success on and off the field, and a source with knowledge of the talks confirmed a Brazilian report that the proposal now is for the U.S. to host again in 2020. The source did caution that there’s still “a long way to go” before it becomes official—and that one of the challenges would be persuading FIFA to add the event to its calendar so that clubs will be required to release players to their national teams.

FIFA complied with CONCACAF and CONMEBOL last summer and put the event on its international calendar, with the likes of Lionel Messi, Alexis Sanchez, Arturo Vidal, James Rodriguez, Javier Hernandez and many other stars taking part in the competition. Neymar was a big omission, but that was due to Brazil hosting the Olympics and his eventual participation in that event.

Regardless of the 2020 plans, the 2019 Copa America, featuring CONMEBOL's 10 teams and two guest nations, will go on as scheduled in Brazil.

Chile has won the last two editions–the traditional Copa in 2015, and Copa America Centenario–by beating Argentina in penalties in the final.

Bundesliga CEO wants more U.S.-born, young Americans in Germany's top flight

Saturday March 25th, 2017

I sat down this week with Bundesliga CEO Christian Seifert, and we talked about how the Bundesliga has taken over from the Premier League as the European league with the most U.S. national team players. It’s one thing for German-American players to be in Germany, but Seifert said he wants the Bundesliga to continue being a top destination for Americans who grew up on U.S. soil like Christian Pulisic and Bobby Wood.

Seifert thinks young players get more opportunities in the Bundesliga than they do in the Premier League, which is why Pulisic extended his contract with Dortmund through 2020 instead of going to Liverpool.

Planet Futbol
Pulisic's temperament, pace impressed Gundogan in American's early Dortmund days

The U.S.-born youth movement in the Bundesliga is hardly limited to Pulisic and Wood. There are currently three U.S.-born 18-year-olds at Schalke–Haji Wright, Weston McKennie and Nick Taitague–who recently joined the club's first team in training. If Seifert has his way, more will follow.

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