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DU Men’s Soccer Applaud 2026 World Cup Coming to U.S.

June 14, 2018

By Jason Evans

Hours before the first kick-off to start the 2018 World Cup in Russia, another wave of soccer excitement struck for U.S. soccer fans early Wednesday.

In a landslide vote, world soccer governing body FIFA awarded the 2026 tournament to the United States, Mexico, and Canada.

It’s the first time the massive event, watched by billions of people, would be hosted by three nations.

The 134-65 vote left runner-up Morocco in the dust.

If you listened close enough, you could hear an excited yell coming from a modest hotel gym in Greensboro, North Carolina.

“I’m going to be honest, I was very happy,” said University of Denver senior goalkeeper Nick Gardner, who is spending his summer playing for the Carolina Dynamo "I don't want to say I was suprised but I was pleased, I almost expected it, but you never know with FIFA, so I was really excited."

Denver is one of 23 cities hoping to be chosen as one of the 16 host sites for the 2026 World Cup.

Don’t think the significance of having matches in his backyard is lost on DU men’s head soccer coach Jamie Franks.

While he believes soccer’s youth development is on solid footing in the United States, he’s hoping the 2026 competition will mean a boost for his program and the sport in general.

Franks may be one of the youngest head coaches in college soccer, but he is old enough to remember the 1994 World Cup, the first to be held on American soil.


 

 

"I just remember for the first time, understanding that soccer was bigger than just a game, and what it meant to people and how it was able to move people," he recalls.

Franks added: “Ultimately I think when kids are able to see the full stage of people’s dreams coming true, whether they’re American players or not, the reality is just kids being able to see that having dreams and goals I think is really important.”

The announcement is some much-needed good news for American soccer, after the U.S. men’s national soccer team failed to qualify for Russia 2018, following an embarrassing defeat to lowly Trinidad and Tobago last October.

It’s the first time the United States has missed the World Cup since 1986.

Still Franks and his goalkeeper Gardner remain optimistic for the future. Both are thrilled at the possibility of matches being played seven miles up I-25.

“I think there’s going to be a boost in fans and just following of not only DU, but all soccer platforms,” Gardner said.

Unfortunately, Denverites will have to wait in agony for some time to hear if they will be a host city.

The Washington Post reports a decision on the 16 sites will not be announced for another two years.

That’s a bitter pill to swallow for Gardner.

 “Man, I’m ready for it to come to the United States.”

“2026 can’t come soon enough.”

#DU1NATION

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