The United States will host the 1994 World Cup, soccer's world governing body announced Monday.
The United States, which will become the only nation - besides Mexico - outside Europe or South America to stage the month-long, 52-match tournament, automatically qualifies as host. The United States has not advanced past World Cup qualifying rounds since 1950.The 21-member executive committee of FIFA, the International Federation of Association Football, voted this morning after hearing final presentations from the United States, Brazil and Morocco.
FIFA Senior Vice President Harry Cavan of Northern Ireland made the announcement at a news conference in a suburban hotel.
"The World Cup will give us a clearly defined goal," said Werner Fricker, president of the United States Soccer Federation. "It will give us the opportunity to develop a major, national professional league system.
"My first feeling (ver the decision) was one of relief. Then I thought what a monumental task it is."
The U.S. presentation included a brief, videotaped message from President Reagan in which he said the United States would be honored to stage the world's biggest soccer event.
The U.S. delegation clapped and cheered as Cavan made the announcement, which was expected.
The 1994 competition will be the 15th World Cup, which dates back to 1930. Since that time, the tournament has alternated between Europe and South America, soccer's two traditional powers, although Mexico held it in 1970 and 1986.
The 1990 World Cup will be played in Italy. The 1986 World Cup was won by Argentina over West Germany 3-2 in the championship.
The United States played in the World Cup in 1930, 1934 and 1950. It is 3-4 in its three appearances, including a stunning 1-0 victory over England in 1950 at Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
The U.S. proposal includes 18 possible stadiums, of which 12 would be used. Stadiums proposed in the East are John F. Kennedy Stadium and Franklin Field in Philadelphia; Robert F. Kennedy Stadium in Washington; Palmer Stadium in Princeton, N.J., and Memorial Stadium in Annapolis, Md.
The facilities in the South are Joe Robbie Stadium in Dade County, Fla.; the Orange Bowl in Miami; Tampa Stadium and the Citrus Bowl in Orlando, Fla.
Midwest sites proposed are Soldier Field in Chicago; Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City, Mo.; the Cotton Bowl in Dallas and a stadium under construction in Blaine, Minn.
Western facilities submitted include the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif.; the Coliseum in Los Angeles; Husky Stadium in Seattle; Parker Stadium in Corvallis, Ore., and the Silver Bowl in Las Vegas, Nev.
All stadiums that have artificial turf must be converted to grass for the World Cup.
The United States' bid, hurt by the absence of an organized major outdoor soccer league, was helped by the popularity of soccer at the 1984 Los Angeles Olympics.
The Olympic soccer tournament attracted 1.4 million fans, including 101,799 for the gold medal game between France and Brazil.