Philadelphia’s own Lincoln Financial Field will be one of 16 North American sites to host 2026 World Cup matches. Being a host city is a tremendous opportunity for Philadelphia to participate in one of the globe’s biggest sporting events, highlight our amazing soccer community, receive an economic boost from visitors, and celebrate the beautiful game.
Here is what the good news could mean for efforts to expand the number of high quality fields available for youth sports in South Philadelphia.
What does the FIFA announcement mean for FDR Park?
The official World Cup matches will take place in Lincoln Financial Field, but national teams will need places to practice. Several options are currently under consideration to be used as a temporary training site for a 2 – 8 week period during the 2026 World Cup, including 2 of the 12 fields planned for FDR Park.
The future fields are part of the FDR Park Plan, which calls for a reimagining of the 348-acre park to provide a balance of water, nature, and the recreation needs of modern Philadelphians by introducing:
- 12 multi-purpose athletic fields interspersed in a natural green setting
- baseball fields
- basketball and tennis courts
- an inclusive and accessible playground
- picnic lawns, and more
The new fields at FDR Park make up just 8% of the park, and will feature amenities like restrooms, concession stands, and equipment storage.
When Philadelphia’s Bid to host World Cup matches was announced in late 2019, the City saw a natural opportunity to leverage this international sporting event to deliver much needed athletic fields to South Philly soccer and football leagues. One or two of the fields planned for FDR Park could be supported by fundraising and investments made as part of the World Cup bid’s legacy planning.
It is anticipated that the temporary training locations will not be selected until early 2023. Whether or not FDR Park is selected as a temporary training site will not impact the Plan and amenities promised, including the construction of these fields. However it is our hope that in being selected we’ll gain funding momentum, working with Philadelphia Soccer 2026, and help propel more pieces of the project forward.
What doesn’t the FIFA announcement mean for FDR Park?
The FIFA announcement does not mean that a soccer stadium is being built in FDR Park. The FDR Park Plan proposes 12 new multi-purpose fields and 4 new baseball/softball fields that will be outdoors, open for public use, and have a clear permitting system.
The FIFA announcement does not mean that new fields will be taking over FDR Park. Nor does it mean FIFA is taking over FDR Park. FDR Park is and will always be a public park under the management and stewardship of Philadelphia Parks & Recreation. As part of the FDR Park Plan, the new fields take up about 8% of the park, and will be interspersed with natural wooded areas, trails, and creeks.
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