BALTIMORE (WJZ) -- FIFA is considering 17 cities in the U.S. to host the matches in 2026 and Baltimore isn't giving up in its quest to be chosen.
The city received a boost today with full political support. The last time FIFA World Cup was hosted in the U.S. was nearly 30 years ago.
"Maryland is in a very strong position to host the world cup," said Lt. Gov. Boyd Rutherford.
"We can do this here. We can do it now and we can do it better," said Mayor Brandon Scott.
A major milestone in the latest efforts to host the matches in Baltimore.
"There is no better team. One, two, punch in the nation to help our campaign continue forward," said Terrance Hasseltine, President of Baltimore-Maryland 2026 and Executive Director of Maryland Sports Commission.
Thursday, Lt. Gov. Rutherford and Mayor Scott announced they'll be teaming up to launch the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 World Cup Host Committee as co-chairs.
"I like to say were like Joe Lewis and Muhammed Ali, we always win," said Mayor Scott.
Officials said the opportunity to host matches would be transformative for the city and state's sporting culture along with the economic impact, both on and off the field.
Communities across the region are also ready to open their arms to visiting teams and fans.
"Were really excited. Baltimore's a huge sports town," said John Hughes, Genera Manager, Mother's Grille Federal Hill.
The staff at Mother's Grille in Federal Hill, home to Ravens and Orioles fans, said the prospect of Baltimore hosting the World Cup would be huge for business.
"Were definitely ready to handle them and were looking forward to it very much," Hughes added.
Most importantly, organizers said our future generation will benefit a great deal from this experience.
"First I would beg my dad to get tickets but it would be really cool to see it in Baltimore," said Kyle Baldwin, youth soccer player.
Baldwin said his love for soccer runs deep and is more than ready to celebrate the world's largest sporting event in Charm City.
"It would be really nice if they could come and hopefully it does," Baldwin added.
"Let's go out and win this bid for Baltimore FIFA 2026," said Mayor Scott.
Representatives from FIFA will be in Baltimore between September and November. Once they wrap up their site visit, a decision day will be next year.
Any concern if Baltimore is a soccer town? Baltimore ranked #1 or #2 in viewer markets as it pertains to the overall viewership of both the men and women's World Cup games.
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