Your Page!

Sounders coach Brian Schmetzer has the ear of Governor Jay Inslee at an event at Pier 62 on Thursday, celebrating Seattle having been awarded World Cup games.

CapDigitals By

Craig Waibel wasn’t surprised when he saw FIFA’s announcement that Seattle will host World Cup matches in 2026.

Waibel, who grew up in the Pacific Northwest and now manages scouting for the Sounders, said he’s watched Seattle’s soccer culture grow over the last few decades. 

Ten years ago, Thursday afternoon, when that became a reality, Waibel said there was a moment of numbness as he reflected on soccer’s decades of growth.

The emotion wasn’t disbelief, though, because “there was no logical reason that Seattle wouldn’t get it.” 

“Seattle didn’t accidentally get to host,” said Waibel, the Sounders’ Senior VP of Soccer and Sporting Director. “This city deserves it for the culture and the soccer culture they’ve built here.”

Sounders head coach Brian Schmetzer echoed that excitement in the lead-up to the Sounders’ game on Saturday.

World Cup host status: ‘This city deserves it’

He grew up in Seattle and started playing for the Sounders in 1980 before 

eventually moving on to coaching various Seattle-area teams.

That happened during the 1994 World Cup, he said, since that tournament aligned closely with MLS’s launch..“The billions of eyeballs on Seattle … It’s going to be a big deal,” Schmetzer said.