Sacramento Looking Eagerly Ahead to 2026 World Cup

SACRAMENTO -- The 2018 World Cup soccer tournament in Russia is not quite finished yet but the Sacramento Republic FC already has their eye on being a part of the action when the World Cup comes to North America in 2026.

Passionate soccer fans have flooded local pubs, like Bonn Lair in midtown Sacramento, throughout the World Cup tournament.

There is already a bid in the works from the Sacramento Republic FC to bring a piece of the 2026 United World Cup to Sacramento as a host city or basecamp for one of the 48 nations.

"They would come here," said Republic FC President and COO Ben Gumpert. "They would train before going off to their group stage matches. So that's the role of these host cities, these basecamp cities.

An extended stay for close to a month for a national team and its thousands of fans, who are expected to accompany them.

"Whether you're Germany or Argentina, they set up basecamp in a place where they can sit down, acclimatize to the nation. And again, we think Sacramento would be an unbelievable host," Gumpert said.

"It's going to mean some economic value to the city but I think the bigger picture on this is it's the World Cup, it's in North America and Sacramento gets to be a part of it," said Mike Sophia with the Sacramento Sports Commission.

The city's role in the 2026 World Cup does hinge on a few things, the biggest being the building of the proposed soccer stadium at the Sacramento Railyards. That will only happen if Republic FC gets awarded an expansion team from Major League Soccer.

"Of course, there is a tie to MLS because it ties to our facilities," Gumpert said. "So if we have a new training ground, a new training facility, which we're going to continue to talk about, certainly a new stadium in the downtown Railyards, those can be parts of the infrastructure that are important."

The team has already reached out to the San Francisco 49ers to partner with them on their bid to host World Cup soccer games at Levi's Stadium in Santa Clara.

The bidding process is still a couple years out but with the 2018 World Cup in its final stages, soccer fans are already making noise about hosting a nation in 2026.

"To be able to be a part of it when it's here, I mean it's going to be electric," Sophia said. "This community will embrace a team that is here, will follow it and, of course, the United States will be in that World Cup."

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