The World Cup could be coming back to the United States in 2026.
In an unprecedented three-country bid to host a World Cup, the U.S., Mexico and Canada are teaming up to try to host FIFA's marquee event. The three CONCACAF nations announced the bid Monday at One World Trade Center in New York City.
Only once has a World Cup been hosted by more than one country. That was in 2002 and Japan and South Korea co-hosted the tournament.
Three countries have never co-hosted a tournament. The tournament is set to expand from 32 countries to 48 for the 2026 edition. The final format for a 48-team World Cup is still being finalized, but that would require more matches to be played. The 32-team version currently involves 64 matches.
Sunil Gulati, president of U.S. Soccer, said the bid they are proposing to FIFA will be for an 80-team tournament with 60 games in the US and 10 each in Canada and Mexico. When asked which country would host the opening game and the final, Gulati said the U.S. would host all matches in the quarterfinals and beyond, but the opening game remains undecided.
"We could host the tournament I think on our own," Gulati said. "We think (the joint bid) makes our bid stronger. There's a pragmatic part of it."
Further details like the host cities and venues and how many venues would host games remains undecided.
The 2018 World Cup will be in Russia and 2022 is set for Qatar. That means both Europe and Asia will be out of the running for bidding in 2026 because the two most recent host continents are not eligible to bid. By bidding together, the U.S. and Mexico don't have to go against each other. The host for the 2026 World Cup won't be announced until 2020, but the North American bid is considered the favorite at this time.
While the U.S. and Mexico have made every World Cup since 1994, Canada hasn't qualified since 1986. The U.S. last hosted the World Cup in 1994 and Chicago's Soldier Field hosted five matches then. Mexico hosted in 1970 and 1986.