Candidate Host City: Kansas City
Kansas City, nicknamed the “Heart of America”, is a bi-city and bi-state metropolitan area that straddles the Missouri-Kansas state line. It was founded in the 1830s as a Missouri River port at its confluence with the Kansas River. The city has a diverse cross section of American history, taking its roots from the western frontier as the starting point for the Oregon, California, and Santa Fe trails. During the 1920s, Prohibition was ignored in Kansas City and alcohol flowed freely, attracting top jazz musicians and talent to the “Paris of the Plains”. To this day the city is a cosmopolitan, entertainment center at the geographic heart of the nation.
“In the Heart of It All”, Kansas City is a passionate football city that has a successful Major League Soccer (MLS) club with more than USD 30 million invested in football-specific infrastructure, with another USD 500 million planned over the next five years. The city has a rich history of successful professional football teams, from the Kansas City Spurs of the North American Soccer League to the Comets and Attack of indoor football to the current-day MLS Sporting Kansas City. Nicknamed “the Wizards”, Sporting Kansas City was one of ten founding cities to launch MLS in 1996 as part of the legacy of the 1994 FIFA World Cup USA™.
Kansas city is home to the newly opened USD 75 million National Football Training and Coaching Development Center. Sporting Kansas City’s Children’s Mercy Park has achieved international acclaim with over 150 awards. It has hosted multiple FIFA World Cup™ Qualifying matches, Concacaf Gold Cups (2011, 2015), men’s and women’s Concacaf Olympic qualifiers, the 2013 MLS All-Star game, and the 2013 MLS Cup Final. Arrowhead Stadium, which holds the record for World’s Loudest Stadium, has hosted numerous international exhibitions. All of this development will further grow the game with the city already ranking among the top five in the nation in youth football participation per capita, with more than 75,000 participants under the age of 15 and another 120,000 participants of all ages. Kansas City has professional teams in three major sports: Sporting Kansas City (MLS), Kansas City Chiefs (NFL) and the Kansas City Royals (MLB), and regularly hosts major professional and collegiate events, including the 2012 MLB All-Star Game, the 2014 and 2015 MLB World Series, multiple NCAA Men’s and Women’s Division I basketball tournaments.