Mayor Eric Adams: Look at that fan right there, she’s jumping so high. Listen, we are so excited to play soccer with these great teams that are up here. Great fans. You’re a good fan? Come on, come on over here. This is what it is about. My son plays soccer at your age, and we saw the beginning, we saw the energy, we saw what soccer could do, and it’s more than what happens on the field. The camaraderie, the diversity, learning the sport, and the fitness, so you can continue as you go through life to make sure you maintain your health, your fitness. But by bringing the World Cup here, the biggest stage on the globe, there’s no place like New York, New Jersey. We are going to bring it here. Eight games, we believe we’re going to have. We need the finals here. We’re going to drop the ball in a few moments, but I cannot thank my partner enough, Governor Murphy, for really bringing this together, showing how the top sport, more people watch soccer than any other sport across the globe. We love it so much. This is going to be a great moment for us. You’re going to have a good time, right?
Audience Member: Yeah!
Mayor Adams: Tell them how much.
Audience Member: Whoo.
Mayor Adams: Come on, Governor Murphy.
Governor Phil Murphy: Thank you, man. Good job. What’s your name? Let’s hear it for Jamila, here. Eric Adams, America’s mayor, New York City is so lucky and we couldn’t have a better partner in this whole process. Let’s hear it one more time for Mayor Eric Adams. Come on, man. Michael Strahan, where are you?
Strahan: I’m hiding.
Governor Murphy: Thank you for coming out and hosting us this morning. How exciting is this? The mayor just said it, we think we’re going to get at least eight games. That’s eight Super Bowls in six weeks, just extraordinary. And every single ticket will be sold out, I guarantee it no matter who’s playing. This is going to be the biggest deal we’ve ever seen in this region. I want to acknowledge some folks up here with us. We got representatives and players from NYCFC—
Governor Murphy: … Yeah, yeah, easy now. New York Red Bulls—
Governor Murphy: And NJ? NY Gotham FC. I also want to remind everybody that this region, the mayor said it, this region didn’t just wake up to soccer. The first professional league was started right across the Hudson in Kearny, New Jersey, and one of the greatest American soccer players of all time happens to be from Kearny, New Jersey, and he’s right behind me. Let’s hear it for John Harkes. Mayor Adams mentioned this. It’s not just about the games, it’s about the legacy. It’s about the excitement that we’ll build, especially among young people, not just going into 2026, but from ’26 on for decades to come. We hosted games in the Men’s World Cup in ’94. We hosted them in the Women’s World Cup in ’99. Wouldn’t mind doing the women again in 2027, by the way. That wouldn’t be a bad idea. Hold that thought, the mayor and I will be back to you on that one.
But we’re incredibly honored to partner with the U.S. Soccer Foundation to make sure that the beautiful game gets into all corners of our great society here in the region, and I’m thrilled that its leader, Ed Foster-Simeon, a dear friend, is with us. Ed, thanks for everything you do. So I got a deal, let’s return here the morning of July 19th, 2026, kick it off in Times Square, and then head across to the Jersey side and witness the final game of the Men’s World Cup 2026. How’s that sound? Mr. Mayor, with your blessing, I’ve been asked to say the following words, let’s kick off 2026.
Mayor Adams: Let’s kick off! I think we got to do a countdown.
Governor Murphy: 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1!
Pedestrian Plaza 7th Avenue, Between 43rd & 44th St Times Square Midtown Manhattan May 17, 2023
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