West Coast's World Cup Hopes Have New Life

Some of us on the West Coast have a bit of an inferiority complex when it comes to sports. We don't like to admit it, but we are constantly worried that the power-brokers in their East Coast highrises are looking to cut us out of some of the fun when it comes to things like the World Cup bid.

We see no West Coast stops on FIFA's recent tour, consider the fact that every stadium out here has some sort of potential flaw, start getting all self-conscious about the travel time between Southern California, the Bay Area and the Pacific Northwest and openly wonder whether the U.S. World Cup bid may actually be finalized without a single game being played in Pacific time zone.

It might seem like a crazy idea to some of you, but when you've been raised to believe that our players are always being overlooked for postseason awards because our games get done after newspaper deadlines on the East Coast, it's not such a crazy leap.

So excuse us if we get a little excited when a L.A. football stadium mock-up has renderings that clearly reference the World Cup.

The proposed stadium -- either somewhere in L.A. proper or in a nearby suburb -- would be an irresistible draw for the World Cup and could even kick off a series of dominoes that results in a significant number of games being played out here.

Without it, I don't think it's entirely crazy for the West Coast to be left high and dry.

Yes, the 1994 bid included games in the Bay Area and Southern California and three of the 18 cities listed on the official U.S. bid are on the West Coast, but let's give those things a closer look:

  • No Bay Area city is currently listed as one of the 18 official bidding cities. The reason is pretty straight forward: None of the stadiums there really fit for one reason or another. The best hopes are for the 49ers to get their stadium built in time, but if know anything about their ownership you know that's far from a safe bet.
  • The Rose Bowl in Pasadena hosted games in the 1994 World Cup and was the site of Brandi Chastain's famous celebration in 1999, but it kind of pales in comparison to the modern stadia popping up in places like Dallas and New York.
  • San Diego's Qualcomm has never hosted a major soccer tournament is also kinda antiquated.
  • Seattle's Qwest Field has proven to be a great soccer venue, but it's smaller than the other venues and, as is constantly pointed out, has a turf surface. The stadium could theoretically be expanded and grass could be brought in, but neither is guaranteed especially if it means hosting just one or two matches.
  • While the distance up and down the West Coast is not particularly problematic in the age of jet travel, any one of these cities would be pretty isolated if only one were to be chosen.

A new L.A.-area stadium changes the dynamics significantly. With that unavoidable beacon, the World Cup would likely want more than just a couple games to be played out here. Suddenly, Phoenix's bid looks mighty inviting, Seattle is able to justify the added expenses and the World Cup is suddenly very West-centric, maybe even playing host to the finals.

Maybe it's based on a pipedream, but for the first time in my life I think this Northern California boy will be rooting for Southern California to get its act together. 

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