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KC World Cup projects move along with two years to kickoff

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — When the U.S. Men’s Olympic Under-23 Soccer Team kicked off against Japan Tuesday night at Children’s Mercy Park, it was coincidentally exactly two years before the 2026 World Cup was due to start in Mexico.

Five days after that night, the first of six World Cup games in Kansas City at Arrowhead will start.

While the excitement builds, the venues that could host teams and fans is becoming more clear.

KC2026 Managing Director Katherine Holland told FOX4 Children’s Mercy Park will be used by the teams in Kansas City to play at Arrowhead but it won’t be a basecamp location.

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Basecamps are where teams will set up and practice for their entire World Cup run. The metro has three potential locations that teams can try to choose during the basecamp draw at the end of 2025 or early 2026.

  • Compass Minerals National Performance Center in Kansas City, Kansas

  • Rock Chalk Park in Lawrence, Kansas

  • KC Current Training Facility in Riverside, Missouri

“We feel really good about the options that we’ve presented,” said Holland. “FIFA themselves have called us the ‘Team Basecamp Mecca’ for World Cup in 2026 because of the quality of our facilities and the central location,” Holland said.

Those facilies have already been paired up with hotels and other ammenidies nearby while representatives from around the world decide their own preferences.

“From now until then we can expect to probably entertain visits from soccer federations who flag our facilities that are of the greatest interest to them,” Holland said.

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Before those decisions are made, there are plenty of other infrastructure projects to continue and finish to handle the influx of athletes and fans in 2026.

670 Highway Cap

The proposed cap over I-670 where it runs through downtown Kansas City was originally slated to cover four sections of the highway but Mayor Quinton Lucas recently told FOX4 that project could be done in smaller sections to try to get at least some of the final vision completed before 2026.

KC Streetcar Extension

The KC Streetcar extension to Country Club Plaza is due to have its first riders in 2025. The Riverfront extension website says it will see its first riders in early 2026.

Preparation efforts are being funded by lawmakers on both sides of the stateline and in Kansas City, Missouri. Tens of millions of dollars have already been allocated to help renovate and update facilities for the World Cup.

The FIFA World Cup 2026 schedule is out right now showing what days games will be played in various cities. The game times should help fans better plan out potentially seeing a game at Arrowhead.

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