It captured the world’s attention for nearly an entire month and culminated in what many are saying is the best World Cup final ever.
With soccer fever still at a high after Argentina claimed the coveted trophy in dramatic fashion, all eyes are now on North America as the 2026 World Cup moves from Qatar to the west.
In the Bay Area, Levi’s Stadium is slated to host between five and eight matches.
“We are now officially on the clock,” said Patricia Ernstrom, Bay Area Host Committee chair.
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Ernstrom is one of those responsible for convincing the FIFA governing body to include Levi’s Stadium in their North America plans. She adds Bay Area diversity was one of their sales pitches.
“We all know what a special play the Bay Area is,” Ernstrom said. “Diversity is one of the things that makes the Bay Area stand out.”
One of the black eyes of the matches in Qatar was the country’s history of mistreating the LGBTQ+ community and reports of harassment by fans who support them.
“In the current climate even across the world, I’m not surprised,” said Gabrielle Antolovich, who runs the Billy DeFrank LGBTQ+ Community Center in San Jose. “I don’t like it.”
Antolovich is excited the next games will give the Bay Area a chance to show the world what real inclusion and diversity looks like, and hopes Levi’s Stadium will lead that charge.
“I’m hoping Levi’s Stadium will be flying the diversity flag, which is not just the rainbow, it has the transgender piece, and the Black and brown piece,” Antolovich said.
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