In late March, the joint bid from the Canadian Soccer Association, the Mexican Football Association and the United States Soccer Federation presented its “United” bid for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. As was discussed then, Miami plays a prominent role. However, diving further into the proposal, you get a better idea about how the city may change for the World Cup.
In the bid book, proposals affecting most of the continent are discussed. Miami appears in almost every level of planning discussed. You can view Miami’s references in the book below:
Some of the most significant developments from the book for Miami-Dade County include:
- Miami is not just a possible venue for Group Stage games. Hard Rock Stadium has been offered as a possibility for both quarterfinal and third-place games.
- Two locations in Miami have been suggested as possible base camps for teams (although neither one actually exists at the moment — more on that later).
- Three universities have been suggested as venue-specific training facilities (St. Thomas, Florida International and Barry).
- Two locations have been suggested for FIFA Fan Fest events. One is Lummus Park on the beach from 5th to 15th Streets in Miami Beach. The other is a stretch of Downtown Miami that includes both Bayfront Park and Museum Park.
- Miami is one of two locations suggested for the Preliminary Draw, alongside Washington, D.C.
All of this is very exciting for those who care about soccer and live in Dade County. However, a couple of hang-ups.
Not yet built
The first, and most significant, is the fact that the two base camps locations that have been recommended to FIFA do not yet exist. We are all familiar with the struggles Fútbol Miami MLS has had getting started. If the team doesn’t yet have a stadium, it’s even more speculative to guess where its training site will be. The second site, which would up becoming news thanks to the book being released, is the Miami Dolphins’ training facility. Since 1993, the Dolphins have been based in Broward County, at Nova Southeastern University in Davie. But the book appears to hint the team may return to Dade County for the first time since leaving St. Thomas.
Adam Beasley of the Miami Herald reported last week that the move was not finalized, but has scoped out the possibility of leaving Nova if they can’t secure site improvements.
Another question the book doesn’t answer is the issue of public transportation. In the book, the joint bid committee sites the “NEW SMART” initiative as part of Miami’s public transportation infrastructure. But just last Monday, the city announced it was going to solicit private bids to fulfill any of the six currently unfulfilled rapid transit corridors contained in the plan. According to a story written by Douglas Hanks of the Herald, the lone expansion of the train system implemented since Miami-Dade voters approved a half-percent sales tax in 2002 dedicated to transportation was a MetroRail line running from Government Center in Downtown Miami to Miami International Airport.
As with all the Bid Books, it is only a proposal. Nothing is set in stone. Yet it’s an exciting time for a soccer fan in South Florida to wonder what kind of role our part of the world may play in the world’s largest sporting event.