Next summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament will conclude on July 16 at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood, giving the $5-billion venue another chance to audition for the 2026 World Cup final. SoFi is one of 11 U.S. stadiums that have been chosen to host World Cup games, with SoFi and MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., the favorites to stage the final.
FIFA, the world governing body for soccer, isn’t expected to announce the 2026 World Cup final host until at least next year.
“SoFi Stadium is a world-class venue and Los Angeles has hosted so many iconic Gold Cup moments, making this stadium a fantastic choice to stage our 2023 CONCACAF Gold Cup final,” CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani, also a FIFA vice president, said in a statement.
SoFi, the world’s most expensive stadium, hosted the 2022 Super Bowl but has staged just one soccer event, the Leagues Cup showcase in August. That doubleheader, featuring LAFC and the Galaxy of MLS and Mexican clubs Chivas and América, drew a midweek crowd of 71,189, the fourth-highest attendance for a soccer match in the U.S. this year.
The Gold Cup final has been held in Los Angeles County six times previously, four times at the Coliseum and twice at the Rose Bowl, most recently in 2011. The 2021 final was played in Las Vegas, with the U.S. beating Mexico 1-0 in extra time for its seventh title. Mexico has won the tournament a record eight times.
The 2023 Gold Cup, CONCACAF’s premier men’s event, will start June 16 with a 12-team preliminary round, part of a busy summer of soccer competition that will include the CONCACAF Nations Leagues, which finishes in June, and the first Leagues Cup, a 47-club event featuring teams from MLS and Mexico’s Liga MX, which kicks off five days after the Gold Cup concludes.
“The Gold Cup will be the centerpiece of a wonderful summer of CONCACAF football,” Montagliani said. “These competitions are hugely important for the ongoing development of the game in CONCACAF as we seek to harness the momentum and anticipation that is building in our region as we get closer to 2026.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.