Bill Clinton is hitting the campaign trail once again. And it has nothing to do with 2012.
Instead, the former U.S. President is campaigning for 2022. That’s the year Clinton hopes to bring soccer’s greatest spectacle, the World Cup, back to America.
Clinton, the Honorary Chairman of the USA Bid Committee, wrote an essay in Sports Illustrated this week explaining why 2022 is the perfect time for the World Cup to return to the United States for the first time since 1994.
Back then, Clinton was in the oval office and recalled in his essay the thrill of watching “67,000 enthusiastic fans” cheer on the Cup’s opening game at Soldier Field. This past summer, Clinton experienced a similar feeling while in South Africa watching the U.S.’s dramatic run to the round of 16.
Now, Clinton is trying to do more than just be one of the masses who would love to see the U.S. host the Cup once again. Clinton will travel to Zurich next month with the U.S.’s bid committee to help the group make its formal proposal for the 2022 games on Dec. 1.
Among the myriad reasons Clinton believes U.S. should host the 2022 Cup is the country’s budding soccer population, which reached new heights over the summer.
“The last 16 years have seen the creation of the MLS professional league, an expansion of the game's United States fan base to more than 90 million and now a roster of four million registered youth players,” Clinton writes. “Last summer our passion for the sport extended beyond our borders: The United States was second only to South Africa in tickets purchased for the 2010 World Cup.”
The former President also believes the event would be particularly welcomed in America with the “fascinating mix of ethnicities and cultures within our border.” In addition, he said the bid would create new opportunities for the world’s soccer economy and increase the sport’s awareness in a country that has historically been turned off by “The Beautiful Game.”
In his essay, Clinton also promises the U.S. would set new standards in environmental responsibility and minimize “the footprint of the event” in terms of resources used.
“If the United States is selected to host the FIFA World Cup,” Clinton writes in SI, “we will be extremely privileged - and ready - to honor the sport of soccer and all that it represents for the fan, for the game and for the world.”
Here's the action going on around the sports world today (all times Eastern):
Miami Heat at Orlando Magic (7:30 p.m., ESPN)
Vince Carter is a game-time decision as the Magic look to avenge a 26-point loss to the Heat on their home floor.
Connecticut vs. No. 9 Kentucky (10:00 p.m., ESPN)
One night after shocking No. 2 Michigan State 70-67, Kemba Walker and the Huskies take on the Wildcats in the championship game of the Maui Invitational.
BY THE NUMBERS
63 – Consecutive home victories for the Kansas men’s basketball team following its 82-41 win over Texas A&M-Corpus Christi on Tuesday.
45 – Seasons Penn State’s Joe Paterno has coached the Nittany Lions. Paterno announced he’ll be returning for his 46th season in 2011.
7 – Losses for the Atlanta Hawks in their last nine games after falling 107-101 to the New Jersey Nets on Tuesday. The Hawks (8-7) began their season 6-0.