The group draw and schedules were recently announced for the 2015 FIFA Women’s World Cup, hosted by six Canadian cities this summer. Much of the hype leading up to the tournament has been about the artificial turf in host stadiums, the subject of a lawsuit by players, but the tournament is likely to go forward, as players have publicly rejected a boycott.
For American soccer fans hoping to attend a World Cup, this may be the best chance (Russia or Qatar anyone?). Now is the time to start thinking about organizing a Canadian World Cup trip.
For those hoping to travel to see the U.S. women’s team, they will be playing in Group D, with their first two matches to be played in Winnipeg, against Australia on June 8, and against Sweden on June 12. Their third game, versus Nigeria, is slated for June 16 in Vancouver.
The venue for the Winnipeg games will be Investor’s Group Field, renamed Winnipeg Stadium for the duration of the tournament (due to FIFA regulations against corporate stadium names). The stadium, a 33,000-seater, was just completed in 2013, and is also home to the CFL’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers of the CFL. The U.S. team played here once before, against Canada, in the inaugural soccer game in the stadium. Winnipeg is only 450 miles, or about seven hours drive, from Minneapolis-St. Paul, so it may provide an opportunity to attend for the dedicated Midwestern fan.
The U.S. team’s third group game will be played at Vancouver’s BC Place, which will also host this year’s Final on July 5. This historic stadium, which hosted the 2010 Winter Olympics, seats up to 54,000 fans and is home to the Vancouver Whitecaps of MLS, as well as the BC Lions of the CFL. After the Olympics, the stadium underwent a $528 million renovation, including the installation of a new retractable roof system to replace the faltering inflatable roof (like Minneapolis’s Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, it also collapsed due to weather). Vancouver is only 150 miles, or about two-and-a-half hour drive, north of Seattle, so it may provide an opportunity to attend for the dedicated West Coast fan.
For those just hoping to catch a World Cup game, four additional cities will be hosting games: Edmonton, Ottawa, Montreal and Moncton. Venues for games range from Montreal’s Olympic Stadium, with a capacity of 66,000, to Moncton Stadium, with a permanent seating capacity of 10,000 (expandable to 20,000). Ironically, Moncton Stadium recently invested $1.5 million to replace their grass with turf, so they could qualify to host World Cup games. Though the tournament is spread out across the vast Canadian geography, depending on fans’ location, there may be a game close to them.
Single-game tickets are to go on sale in early 2015, though fans can currently purchase “Stadium Passports” good for all games at one venue. Prices are fairly reasonable – for example, the seven game package in Winnipeg currently ranges from $95-$260, depending on seat location. The purchase of a “passport” also entitles buyers to purchase tickets for the World Cup Final game in Vancouver (for an additional $50-$165 per ticket). A Ticket Guide can be found here.
So, American soccer fans better get on it. Start thinking about travel arrangements now – attending a World Cup game this summer may be a once in a lifetime opportunity.