We might be known for hockey, but a great soccer match gets Canadian blood pumping fast too. While the Canadian men’s team doesn’t have a great record with the FIFA World Cup Championships (we’ve only qualified once, in 1986), we know how to have fun while taking in a game. Thanks to our great track record for hosting events, Edmonton might even get the chance to host part of the 2026 World Cup.
So what makes us worthy of the potential honor? Both on-field and off-field, a host city has to be prepared to give fans a good time. Edmonton is known for accommodating successful FIFA events, including part of the 2015 Women’s World Cup, so it’s a logical choice for FIFA organizers. Still, it would be the first time Edmonton – or any Canadian city – has hosted the Men’s World Cup.
Commonwealth is the obvious venue choice in Edmonton, but Calgary has proposed McMahon Stadium for the game venue as well. Space-wise, we certainly have Calgary beat; where McMahon can only hold 35,650 flag-waving, decked out soccer fans, Commonwealth can pack a whopping 56,335 die-hard soccer enthusiasts in.
Unfortunately, we aren’t just competing with Calgary for the chance at hosting. First, North America has to win the bid, which commentators say is likely to happen. After that hurdle is jumped, FIFA organizers say there are over 49 stadiums shortlisted in 44 cities across Canada, the US, and Mexico. Other Canadian cities that made the list include Montreal, Ottawa, Regina, Toronto, and Vancouver. Luckily, Edmonton’s stadium is the second largest among the Canadian stadiums shortlisted, so we could have a good chance at being chosen.
Of course, 2026 is a long way off, so there’s no need to speculate too much. Edmonton planners should know by the end of September if it’s a possibility, but the final decision on the hosting cities won’t be announced until June 2018. The good news for all of Canada is that tradition has dictated that the host country’s team automatically qualifies, so we could see red and white flying across the field either way!