All the world’s a stage Grand Park to be considered for base camp site for FIFA World Cup 26


Grand Park and the City of Westfield have made the short list of North American sites to potentially serve as a Team Base Camp for the FIFA World Cup 26.

FIFA released a list of 24 locations in 17 cities under consideration to host one of 48 teams when the World Cup returns to Canada, the United States and Mexico in 2026. The sites represent locations that, if chosen, will serve as a hub to support one of the teams with lodging, training facilities and resources throughout the group stage.

Teams will submit their base camp selections following the final draw for the FIFA World Cup 26, anticipated to take place in late 2025.

The effort to bring Grand Park to the world stage was led by the Indy Eleven professional soccer team, which included multiple tours, presentations and sessions with various FIFA delegates for more than a year.

Greg Stremlaw, president and CEO of Indy Sports & Entertainment and Indy Eleven Professional Soccer, said there are multiple benefits to hosting a site in Westfield, including economic impacts and international exposure. 

“The 2026 World Cup is the largest sporting event in the world, especially as it is moving to 48 teams from countries around the world,” Stremlaw said. “It is a privilege and an honor to be chosen to potentially host one of these teams. These are truly the most talented soccer athletes in the world, and they are here representing their nation. With that comes passion and significant pride. These teams also typically will bring friends, family and their supporters into the location they choose for their base camp. Additionally, national media from the country that they represent travel incredibly well, meaning major international exposure and coverage of the City of Westfield and Grand Park Sports Campus.”

Westfield Mayor Scott Willis said making the list is a proud moment for the city.

“Look at the cities that have been selected: They’re not little, tiny towns,” Willis said. “You will have heard of every city, big cities that are well known. And at the very bottom of the list you see Westfield, Indiana. I think that’s all you need to think about, that a small city like Westfield in small Indiana is on the world stage for this kind of event. I think that speaks volumes of what has been created at Grand Park, and the work that our city has done to promote our community, the park and lure in world class opportunities. We’re bringing in events that are once-in-a-lifetime for our residents and we’re super excited about it.”

For local soccer fans, the potential for hosting a World Cup team means bringing the sport they love to a wider audience.

“What I enjoy most is that you’re with the team, you’re all close on and off the field,” said Ace Loureiro, 17, a rising senior at Westfield High School and member of the WHS soccer team. “On the field you celebrate your achievements with everybody. There are ups and downs, but the ups are the best part of it.”

Teammate and rising junior Tommy Beck, 15, agreed that earning a home base site has the potential to increase local soccer fandom.

“I had older siblings who played, and I’d go to their games and watch them, but while I was there the atmosphere and how the people who cared were paying attention, cared about the calls, it was just so important to them,” Beck said. 

WHS soccer coach Eric Cupp said bringing a team to Westfield means showing off the sport he and his athletes love.

“Soccer is a much bigger game in the U.S. but also in the Indy area than it was 10 years ago, 20 years ago,” Cupp said. “For Grand Park to get that kind of notice is huge. It’s already a nationally known facility, but for it to be a world-renowned facility, you can’t buy that kind of publicity. As an Indiana soccer guy my whole life, that’s the dream. You want to see the professionals come to where you live.”

Cupp also said that soccer truly is a game for everyone.

“You use the game as the language,” Cupp said. “The facilities you need are minimal. You can go out and kick the ball around and you don’t have to know the person, you don’t even have to speak the same language. They call it the world’s game because it doesn’t matter where you are, the rules are the same, everybody has a common goal and it’s fun. It’s just magic.”

Indy Eleven officials said experiencing that magic is what earning a host site position will do for residents of Westfield and Indianapolis.

“It is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to be part of the world’s largest sporting event in some manner,” Stremlaw said. “The Team Base camp will provide major economic impact and international media attention to the City of Westfield and beyond. It also is a great way to inspire children to get involved in sport and to try soccer if they have not yet taken that opportunity.”

Additional potential base camp sites include Atlanta, Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Dallas, Fort Worth, Green Bay, Wisc., Guadalajara, Irvine, Calif., Kansas City, Louisville, Mexico City, Monterrey, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Salt Lake City and San Antonio. According to FIFA, the list will likely grow over the next 18 months.

Stremlaw said the next steps are for Indy Eleven and the City of Westfield to work closely on the project. Indy Eleven will also work with the Indianapolis Airport Authority and other stakeholders who can showcase why Indianapolis and Westfield are an ideal hosting destination.

Learn more about the FIFA World Cup at

Grand Park map
If chosen as a team host city, the Grand Park soccer fields will be the practice home to one of 48 World Cup 26 teams. (Photo by Marney Simon)


The established relationship between Grand Park Sports Campus and Indy Eleven includes Grand Park as Indy Eleven’s Official Training Center, as well as the home for Indy Eleven’s National Champion USL W League team.

The relationship between the city and Indy Eleven has grown into Grand Park Sports & Entertainment, a collaboration with multiple partners including the City of Westfield, Keystone Group, Indy Eleven and Bullpen Ventures.

“Since we started to work with Indy Eleven as part of this Grand Park (management memorandum of understanding), the Indy Eleven organization has had huge international influence,” Westfield Mayor Scott Willis said. “They’re going to open up opportunities at Grand Park that we just haven’t had in the past. They’re not a regional player: They’re an international player.”