A contingent of Miami-Dade and Land Shark Stadium officials is in New York today making the region’s pitch to be included in the United States’ bid to play host to the 2018 or 2022 World Cup.
In August, Miami was included on a short list of 27 U.S. communities that are finalists as host sites. The 27 communities have been meeting and attending host community workshops with the USA Bid Committee in New York this week.
Mike Sophia, executive director of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission, is in New York, along with Commission Chairman and Miami-Dade County Commissioner Jose “Pepe” Diaz, Greater Miami Convention & Visitors Bureau President and CEO Bill Talbert, Land Shark Stadium President M. Bruce Schulze and Vice President and General Manager Todd Boyan.
“It’s really an opportunity for us to go up and just highlight our bid, any changes,” Sophia said. “We’ll take a little bit of time to explain here’s what we are, who we are.”
Sophia says the committee is expected to narrow the group of 27 to 18 that will be announced in early December. The U.S. application to FIFA to host either of the two upcoming World Cups is due in May, with the announcement of the host nations coming in December 2010.
Meanwhile, local World Cup supporters are encouraging soccer fans to sign a petition showing their support for bringing the World Cup to the U.S.
“The USA Bid Committee wants to show the grassroots support for soccer,” Sophia said of the petition drive.
Those interested in signing the petition can find it here or through the Sports Commission’s Web site.
Additionally, the commission is planning to drum up support at local sporting events by setting up petition drive booths at Saturday night’s Miami Heat-New Jersey Nets game at AmericanAirlines Arena; Sunday’s Miami Dolphins-Tampa Bay Buccaneers game at Land Shark Stadium; and at next Wednesday’s "Celebracion Honduras Mundialista 2010" soccer friendly featuring Honduras and Peru, also at Land Shark.