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'We can show Edmonton as a soccer city': Edmonton hosts World Cup qualifiers in November

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The Canadian men’s soccer team is doing well in the World Cup qualifying matches, and Explore Edmonton says that could open up doors for our city as a sports destination.

Next month, Canada Soccer will welcome Costa Rica and Mexico to Commonwealth Stadium for two World Cup qualifying games. Five games into the qualifying rounds, and Canada remains unbeaten – including a game on Oct. 7, when our country’s 51st-ranked team tied No. 9 Mexico 1-1. They also picked up a point in a scoreless draw Sunday in Jamaica.

Events Edmonton says between the unexpectedly solid performance from Team Canada, and the two games in Edmonton next month, our city has a unique opportunity.

“The thing that matters most right now is that we can show Edmonton as a soccer city,” director of Edmonton Events for Explore Edmonton Janelle Janis said.

“We host FIFA for a site visit in November a week after those matches,” she said. “They’re coming here to check out the stadium, our training sites, [and] our fan-fest locations for the World Cup in 2026, since we’re a candidate host city.”

“So being able to show that Edmonton is a soccer city, that we have a huge soccer fan base here, and that we’re a great choice for the 2026 World Cup, is a huge advantage for us.”

And it won’t just be the players on the field who have a score to settle.

“In 2015 Edmonton set the record for the biggest attendance for any Canadian national team,” Janis said, referring to the Women’s World Cup game at Commonwealth. “Vancouver now holds that record for the men’s team when they played Mexico in 2016.”

“So we have an opportunity, a big opportunity, to beat that record in November.”

Explore Edmonton says more information on ticket sales for the November matches will be available in the next week or so. Commonwealth Stadium is under the province’s Restriction Exemption Program, so everyone attending will be required to show proof of two doses of COVID-19 vaccine. Janis says it will be up to Canada Soccer to determine whether negative COVID-19 tests will be accepted in lieu of proof of vaccination.  

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