US Soccer CEO JT Batson describes Kansas City’s impact on World Cup

US Soccer CEO JT Batson describes Kansas City’s impact on World Cup

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — There are 798 days until the first match of the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

That seems like a long way away but two years can fly by in an instant and Kansas City still has lots to do to prepare for the world soccer tournament.

As the United States, Mexico, and Canada prepare to host all 104 matches, U.S. Soccer CEO JT Batson took a tour of Kansas City and its soccer facilities this week.

He spoke to the media at Sporting Kansas City’s practice facility in KCK after looking at Kansas City Current’s facilities as well.

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“The investment in soccer by ownership, by the governments here in the Kansas City region has been incredible,” Batson said.

Teams in the WC will choose their bases throughout the country depending on the proximity to their match locations.

Batson described how teams that have already qualified for the World Cup have already sent representatives over to tour facilities throughout the country to determine where they will choose their base camp. But it mostly depends on where teams are drawn in the group stage.

The draw usually happens late in the year before the World Cup so approximately December 2025 in this case.

“Kansas City being central has a lot going for it in that respect,” he said. Batson also acknowledged the facilities as to why teams will want to be based in KC.

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“In addition to the economic development that will come from the games themselves, you’ll also get the benefit of the traveling circuses of these teams rolling through and staying for 30, 45, 60 days depending on how long they’re here and how well they do.”

Copa America group stage matches are coming to Kansas City as well in June and July. Copa America is the championship between North American, Central American, and South American national teams.

KC is one of 14 U.S. host cities.

The winner will later compete in the 2025 CONMEBOL–UEFA Cup of Champions against the UEFA Euro 2024 winner.

Peru (FIFA ranking no. 32) will face Canada (FIFA ranking no. 49) on Saturday, June 25th at SKC’s Children’s Mercy Park.

The U.S. Men’s National Team (FIFA ranking no. 11) will come to the Kansas City Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium to face Uruguay (FIFA ranking no. 15) on July 1st at 8 p.m. The USMNT is unbeaten all-time in Kansas City (10-0-2).

Batson is looking forward to seeing KC embrace the USMNT and vice versa and sees it as a preview for when KC hosts six total matches in the 2026 FIFA World Cup.

“I am very, very confident that Kansas City is poised to welcome 12 teams from all around the world in what’ll be an incredible celebration of soccer.”

Batson mentioned that KC has been a strong supporter of the U.S.-Mexico’s bid for the 2027 FIFA Women’s World Cup as well. The bid includes 16 host cities: 11 in the USA and five in Mexico.

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USA-Mexico is one of three countries looking to host along with BelgiumGermanyNetherlands and Brazil. The appointment to determine the host country is set for May in Bangkok.

“We believe the Women’s World Cup in the U.S. and Mexico will lead to over $2 billion of profit that can be invested in women’s soccer around the world which would be transformative for the sport.

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