Gillette Stadium potential venue for 2026 World Cup games

Brian Bilello of the New England Revolution talks about the possibility of the World Cup coming to Gillette in 2026. (WJAR)

Gillette Stadium in Foxborough is in the running to host some of the games in soccer's 2026 World Cup.

The soccer showpiece is returning to the United States for the first time since 1994. FIFA voters on Wednesday overwhelmingly awarded the tournament to the joint North American bid of the U.S., Canada and Mexico, over Morocco.

Gillette Stadium, the home of MLS's New England Revolution and the NFL's New England Patriots, is one of 23 potential World Cup venues in the bid. The final host cities will be chosen in a process that will continue through 2020.

"There will be an effort over the next couple of years for us here in Boston to win the right to actually host the games here in Boston," Brian Bilello, president of the Revolution, said at a news conference. "I think we have a great chance to do so."

Bilello said Boston has a strong bid because all of the infrastructure -- from airports to hotels to facilities -- is already in place. Nothing has to be built to host the games.

Robert Kraft, who owns the stadium and both teams, talked about the excitement of seeing World Cup soccer in the U.S. again.

"The last time we had it was 1994. Maradona's last game ever played was at the old Foxboro Stadium. So, it's exciting. I know we have a lot of soccer fans on the North Shore, Fall River, New Bedford, Rhode Island -- especially Rhode Island, there's a lot of fans," Kraft said.

The other American cities in the running are Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Dallas, Denver, Houston, Kansas City. Los Angeles, Miami, Nashville, New York/New Jersey, Orlando, Philadelphia, San Francisco Bay Area, Seattle and Washington.

FIFA has the final say on which cities are selected to host games and whether all three countries are guaranteed a place at the tournament.

The U.S. proposed staging 60 out of the 80 games, when 16 teams will be added to the finals, leaving Canada and Mexico with 10 fixtures each.

The 87,000-capacity MetLife Stadium outside New York is proposed for the final.

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