World Cup ’94: The Event that Ignited America’s Love of Soccer-World Football

When the USA was chosen as the host country for the 1994 World Cup, it launched a plethora of firsts.

  • As part of the agreement to be a host, the USA was required to create its first soccer league. Thus Major League Soccer (MLS) was born.
  • It was the first time the World Cup was held in the USA.
  • It was the first time the World Cup was hosted in multiple cities. For the 1994 World Cup, it was 9 venues across America in Pasadena, California; Stanford, California; Pontiac, Michigan; East Rutherford, New Jersey; Dallas, Texas, Chicago, Illinois; Orlando, Florida; Foxborough, Massachusetts; and Washington, DC.
  • It was the most financially successful World Cup in history.
  • It broke tournament records with an overall attendance of 3,587,538.
  • And most important is that it was the catalyst that ignited a country-wide passion for the sport in the USA, which has been thriving ever since.

To help make this world-class event a success, MLS engaged the services of Selbert Perkins Design, who collaborated with an internationally recognized design team, including Hunt Design, Environmental Image, Robert Miles Runyon Associates, Maury Blitz, and Martha Schwartz Landscape Architects, to create the dynamic ‘look of the games’ for the 9 venues located across the United States. The monumental system of landmarks, gateways, wayfinding, and furniture, created a bold and memorable image for the games at each location, creating an unrivaled spectator experience. Utilizing recyclable and sustainable elements and crafting them so they could be dismantled, shipped, and set up at the next venue were also firsts of their kind and a challenge for the design team.

“This was an amazing project for us. Soccer is the one globally played and loved game and the World Cup has the power to unite cultures from around the world through love and passion for the sport.” — Clifford Selbert, co-founding partner, Selbert Perkins Design

We are honored to work with Major League Soccer, assisting them in launching their organization, producing a world-class World Cup event uniting the world through their passion for the sport, and helping to establish the USA as a global player on the world football stage.

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