To help, below we’ve got a handy reference guide for you to each North American stadium and city that will provide the backdrop to the world’s biggest sporting event.
MetLife Stadium - New York/New Jersey
- An 82,500-seat stadium built in 2010 that hosts the New York Giants and New York Jets. MetLife has also hosted plenty of soccer, including the 2016 Copa América final between Chile and Argentina. Chile won on penalties.
- World Cup History: New York has hosted World Cup events before. In 1994, Giants Stadium – on the same site – hosted seven games of the Men’s World Cup, including the semifinal match. It also hosted four group stage matches of the 1999 Women’s World Cup.
- General Soccer Vibe: New York’s notable soccer history goes back decades to the famous New York Cosmos of the North American Soccer League (NASL) once led by Pelé and Franz Beckenbauer. In addition to hosting a number of major international events in its soccer history, the city is also home to two MLS teams: The current champions, New York City FC, and the sometimes cursed New York Red Bulls. England fans should rest easy heading to New York; there are kindred spirits among the locals.
AT&T Stadium - Dallas
- Just a big ole, hilariously massive palace of a stadium. The record attendance at this place is 105,000. It’s normally reserved for the NFL's Dallas Cowboys, whom you might remember from the ’90s. Its recent soccer history includes multiple Concacaf Gold Cup matches and international friendlies.
- World Cup History: Dallas did in fact host matches during the 1994 World Cup at the Cotton Bowl. The famous stadium hosted four group stage matches, a Round of 16 match and a quarterfinal between Brazil and the Netherlands attended by over 63,000 fans.
- General Soccer Vibe: In addition to hosting multiple World Cup and Gold Cup games, Dallas is home to FC Dallas, a team either most notable for their past stint as the Dallas Burn and the accompanying electro-fire horse logo, or for their current stint running the best youth-development program in the country. It will be nice for literally half of the US men's national team to potentially have a homecoming game.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium - Atlanta
- Basically a grounded spaceship that seats 73,000-plus.
- World Cup History: Atlanta has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: The home of Atlanta United, MBS lost the record for most-attended MLS game to Charlotte FC this year, but still has about an entire top-20 worth of the highest-attended MLS games. The success of Atlanta United played a major factor into why Atlanta was considered a surefire semifinal host.
SoFi Stadium - Los Angeles
- Another absurdly large structure that can pack in over 100,000. It needs a few touchups to make the field big enough for soccer, but they’ll figure it out over the next four years.
- World Cup History: LA was a major site for both the 1994 and 1999 World Cups. The Rose Bowl hosted the men’s final won by Brazil in 1994 and the women’s final won by the United States in 1999. That’s in addition to a handful of group stage games, a Round of 16 game, a semifinal and a third-place game. On top of that, the Home Depot Center in Carson hosted multiple matches in the 2003 Women’s World Cup, including the final won by Germany.
- General Soccer Vibe: Obviously, the international history is there. But domestically, LA has a rich history as well. The LA Galaxy are perhaps the most famous MLS team and its most successful, while LAFC have become a force in the league since their inception in 2018. There was also once a team called Chiv[gets tackled].
Lincoln Financial Field - Philadelphia
- Home of the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, it holds about 67,000. It opened in 2003 with a match between Manchester United and Barcelona and has hosted numerous US National Team games since, as well as Gold Cup and Copa America matches.
- World Cup History: Lincoln Financial hosted multiple group stage matches in the 2003 Women’s World Cup.
- General Soccer Vibe: The city worked hard to earn this bid and earned it for good reason. The Philadelphia Union have some of the most engaged fans in MLS and the city as a whole has enough chaotic energy to make any major event a true party.
Levi’s Stadium - San Francisco/Bay Area
- Opened in 2014, Levi’s has already hosted some significant matches. Multiple international friendlies, multiple Copa America games and multiple Gold Cup games have taken place at the 68,000-person stadium.
- World Cup History: Nearby Palo Alto hosted matches in the 1994 Men’s World Cup and 1999 Women’s World Cup at Stanford Stadium. The 1994 World Cup brought three group stage games, a Round of 16 game and a quarterfinal. In 1999, Stanford Stadium held a semifinal match between the US and Brazil.
- General Soccer Vibe: In addition to a history of World Cup matches, the area is home to the San Jose Earthquakes of MLS and formerly of NASL. You might be old enough to remember when George Best played for the NASL edition of the team.
NRG Stadium - Houston
- A retractable roof stadium that’s hosted Gold Cup matches, the MLS All-Star Game, World Cup qualifiers and Copa America matches, including the 2016 semifinal.
- World Cup History: Houston has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: Rated the most diverse city in America, Houston is an excellent soccer town that will assuredly show out in a major way for its World Cup matches. It’s also home to MLS’s Houston Dynamo FC, something Mexico men’s national team fans will be keenly aware of as Hector Herrera joins the Dynamo in the coming weeks.
Lumen Field - Seattle
- The home of Seattle Sounders FC of MLS and OL Reign of the NWSL, its record attendance is 69,274 for the 2019 MLS Cup.
- World Cup History: Seattle has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: The Seattle Sounders are one of the best-supported teams in North America and recently won the Concacaf Champions League title at Lumen Field. It’s an amazing soccer city that has wholly earned a right to host for its decades of support for the Sounders.
Hard Rock Stadium - Miami
- It’s mostly known for hosting Super Bowls (six of them) and name changes (351 of them), but Hard Rock Stadium has hosted multiple international friendlies with crowds of over 60,000.
- World Cup History: Miami has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: It’s…Miami. Soccer is a very big deal. There’s a reason a new international star gets linked to Inter Miami CF every other week.
GEHA Field at Arrowhead Stadium - Kansas City
- The former home of the Kansas City Wiz (yes, they called them that), it’s hosted international friendlies and a World Cup qualifier. It’s known for being extremely loud and holds the Guinness World Record for noise level by a crowd at 142.2 decibels.
- World Cup History: Kansas City has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: Sporting Kansas City have one of the most passionate fan bases in MLS and consistently produce one of the best atmospheres in North America. The city will be extremely stoked about this.
Gillette Stadium - Boston/Foxborough
- Home of the New England Revolution, it’s hosted MLS Cup, Gold Cup matches, World Cup qualifiers, a Copa America quarterfinal and multiple World Cup matches.
- World Cup History: Boston has hosted matches in all three US-based World Cups. Six of those came in 1994, five of those came in 1999 and two more came in 2003. It’s been a few years, but they should be somewhat used to this by now.
- General Soccer Vibe: I made a joke earlier about England fans and Red Bulls fans getting along, but maybe I should have gone with the Revs?
BMO Field - Toronto
- The smallest venue on this list, BMO Field is expected to expand to 45,000 by 2026. It currently holds about 30,000 for Toronto FC matches and has hosted MLS Cup and a Gold Cup game before.
- World Cup History: Toronto has never hosted a World Cup match.
- General Soccer Vibe: Toronto FC routinely have excellent atmospheres for games and I wouldn’t expect any different for the World Cup.
BC Place - Vancouver
- Home of MLS’s Vancouver Whitecaps FC and former home of the NASL edition of the Whitecaps, BC Place has a long history of hosting soccer, Canadian football and even baseball.
- World Cup History: BC Place hosted multiple matches in the 2015 Women's World Cup, including the final.
- General Soccer Vibe: Whitecaps fans are starving for a little more success in MLS, but Vancouver has supported some version of the team since 1974.
Estadio Azteca - Mexico City
- It might be the most famous stadium on the continent. The amount of history it carries in this sport is far too much to list here.
- World Cup History: Estadio Azteca (capacity of 114,600 at the time) hosted numerous games at the 1986 World Cup, including the famous Argentina-England match that gave the world both Maradona’s “Hand of God” goal and Maradona’s “Goal of the Century” in the span of four minutes. The Azteca also hosted the final, won 2-0 by Maradona and Argentina over Germany.
- General Soccer Vibe: Gut call, but I imagine there might be some interest in Mexico City for this “World Cup”.
Estadio Akron - Guadalajara
- Estadio Akron is the home of Chivas Guadalajara, one of the most popular teams on the continent. In its first year, Estadio Akron hosted the 2010 Copa Libertadores final.
- World Cup History: Guadalajara hosted 10 matches in the 1986 World Cup, including a semifinal.
- General Soccer Vibe: This city is used to big matches, regardless of who is playing, expect for them to chant and yell for the full 90 minutes.
Estadio BBVA - Monterrey
- The home of CF Monterrey since 2015, it is what some might call scenic.
- World Cup History: Monterrey hosted eight matches in 1986, hosting multiple group stage games and a quarterfinal.
- General Soccer Vibe: Along with the views that come from being in the stadium, Monterrey have some of the most passionate fans in the world.