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Denver Holds Ace Card In Quest To Host Some 2026 World Cup Games

DENVER (CBS4) - A number of organizations have stepped up efforts to make Denver a host city for the FIFA Men's World Cup in 2026. The U.S. will host the soccer tournament -- along with cities in Mexico and Canada -- and if Denver is chosen the games would be played at Broncos Stadium at Mile High.

Gervinho
Giannis Maniatis of Greece tackles Gervinho of the Ivory Coast during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Group C match between Greece and the Ivory Coast at Castelao on June 24, 2014 in Fortaleza, Brazil. (Photo by Laurence Griffiths/Getty Images)

Denver is one of 17 cities competing for 10 slots, and during a news conference on Thursday morning, Gov. Jared Polis pointed out that Denver holds an ace card.

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"We're the only city in the American Mountain West competing for the games. And if the tournament is desiring to really represent the continent, it's important that we have that geographic diversity," Polis said.

Polis and Denver Mayor Michael Hancock unveiled a large soccer ball as they kicked off the campaign.

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"I like scoring goals and celebrating as a team," 5th grader Levi Blair

Levi enjoys playing soccer both as a striker and a goalie.

"I like saving the goals because when you get that feeling like, 'Yes! I did this for my team!' It's a very good feeling."

He and his cousins Tobi and Lillian watched with excitement as the case was made for Denver to be a host city in 2026.

"FIFA World Cup is the most important event in the world and Denver should be part of it." Dr. Bob Contiguglia, Bid Committee Chair.

"I'm here to tell soccer fans around the world that Denver is ready to host the FIFA World Cup soccer matches right here in the Mile High City at Broncos stadium," said Denver Mayor Michael B. Hancock.

"It's a match that's made in heaven and we are going to move heaven and earth to make it happen and bring the World Cup right here to Colorado," Gov. Polis.

It's estimated hosting the FIFA games would generate more than $300 million in economic activity for the region.

Lillian loves soccer too as a player and a fan.

"I see on TV, there's crowds and everybody's cheering and I would like to be there, well here cheering and seeing what everybody's doing," said 6th grader Lillian Osifodunrin.

"I play soccer constantly, I just revolve around it, something that I love so it's always around me," said 11th grader Tobi Osifodunrin.

For Lillian's brother Tobi, he doesn't want to just watch the games, he hopes to be on the field.

"World Cup's 2026 so hopefully I will be able to get in the World Cup, get to play here," said Tobi.

The final North American host cities aren't expected to be announced until as late as 2021. Because they are all hosting, the Canada, U.S. and Mexico teams will all automatically qualify for the tournament.

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