Philadelphia commemorates countdown to 2026 FIFA World Cup with flag raising

Philadelphia is one of 11 U.S. Cities hosting World Cup matches in 2026, with games set to be played at Lincoln Financial Field.

A group of people raise a FIFA World CUP flag.

The flag raising ceremony commemorates the countdown to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, with some matches slated to take place in Philadelphia. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

In an effort to raise awareness that Philadelphia will be one of 11 U.S. cities to host  2026 FIFA World Cup matches, the city raised a FIFA flag above City Hall Thursday.

The baby-blue flag is emblazoned with the World Cup trophy.

Meg Kane, members of a youth soccer team, Mayor Jim Kenney, and other officials pose for a photo outside of City Hall.
Meg Kane (center) posed with local youth soccer players and city and community leaders after the flag was raised. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

Meg Kane, who worked with the city’s bid committee, said during a press conference that the flag “captures the energy of Philadelphia.”

“We’ve been ready for this moment since America kicked off nearly 250 years ago,” Kane said. “The real question for the world is are you ready for Philly?”

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The city began its campaign to be a host city back in 2017. Games will be played at Lincoln Financial field in South Philadelphia.

Mayor Jim Kenney said during the flag raising that the looming soccer tournament had been the backdrop during his two terms in office, and asked for one favor when the time comes.

“Somebody let me know, when the games get started, where I can get a ticket,” Kenney said.

Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney spoke before the raising of the FIFA World Cup 2026 flag raising at City Hall on May 18, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)
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The 23rd installment of the global soccer tournament is slated to be the biggest one yet, with 48 teams playing a 104-game schedule that will last nearly six weeks.

In July, the English Premier League will be hosting a series of preseason matches at Lincoln Financial Field. The teams competing will be Aston Villa, Brentford, Brighton & Hove Albion, Chelsea, Fulham, and Newcastle United.

Philadelphia is one of 16 cities in North America that will host the FIFA World Cup in 2026. Branding for the event was reveal on May 18, 2023. (Kimberly Paynter/WHYY)

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