Editorial: The World Cup’s biggest stage: Soccer comes to New York

Despite decades of overstated predictions from Pelé’s days with the old Cosmos that it would rival football, basketball and baseball one day, soccer has made it pretty big. Major League Soccer is doing well, and international soccer is plenty popular, especially in this global city.

And now for the second time, the quadrennial World Cup is coming to the U.S. in the summer of 2026. The tourney was held here 30 years ago with games played around the country at eight locations. The final was at the Rose Bowl in sunny Pasadena, Calif.

This time, the organizers have gotten serious and come to the world’s biggest stage for the biggest game. The finale will be on July 19, 2026 at the Meadowlands, or as they call it, “New York/New Jersey.” The stadium mailing address is East Rutherford, but the tenants are the New York Giants and the New York Jets. The Jersey part is incidental.

The Meadowlands is one of 16 venues, including two in Canada and three in Mexico and 10 others in the U.S. Dallas thought they had the championship in the bag. But it’s going to be here instead.

It was 10 years ago this week, during the Super Bowl, when NJTransit left fans stranded for hours by using a fixed schedule for the rail shuttle rather than a “load and go” system even as a fleet of unused buses sat nearby. Get it working right by summer 2026.