The FIFA Men’s World Cup is upon us, and with the U.S. back in the tournament after eight years, a handful of San Francisco landmarks will be transformed to host free watch parties in what is being called the World Cup Village SF 2022.
Locations include the Civic Center Plaza, The Crossing at East Cut, Union Square Plaza and the JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park.
The World Cup Village is funded by the Office of Economic and Workforce Development (OEWD) and Office of the Mayor in a collaboration with the San Francisco Recreation and Park Department and Street Soccer USA, a nonprofit organization that aims to combat poverty and provide safe spaces through grassroots soccer programs.
A spokesperson for OEWD said that the goal for hosting this event is to bring more people into the downtown core.
Even though games will be played every day in Qatar, the Village in SF will only be open on select dates, mainly when the U.S. plays, and for the semifinals and final match.
Street Soccer USA said that the parties will include complementary programming, entertainment and match replays throughout the day.
The festivities kick off on Monday, Nov. 21, at The Crossing at East Cut beginning at 8 a.m. The U.S. plays its opening game against Wales at 11 a.m.
Additional confirmed dates for the Village include a three-day festival in Union Square Plaza on the weekend of Nov. 25-27, also beginning daily at 8 a.m.
The U.S. plays England on 11 a.m. Nov. 25, the day after Thanksgiving.
On the Nov. 29, the festivities return to The Crossing when the U.S. plays its final group stage match against Iran.
The two semifinals matches will be screened on Tuesday, Dec. 13, and Wednesday, Dec. 14, respectively with the locations still to be determined.
The final match, which airs on Sunday, Dec. 18 at 7 a.m., will be held at JFK Promenade in Golden Gate Park.
Food trucks will be at The Crossing events, as well as the JFK Promenade event. There will also be vendors selling food and beverages at both the Union Square and Civic Center locations.
Updates on screening locations and happenings around the games will be updated on the World Cup Village website.
“Rec and Park provides adults and youth the opportunity to get out and play, and by screening the FIFA World Cup at some of San Francisco’s most iconic locations, we hope to inspire even more people,” SF Rec and Park General Manager Phil Ginsburg said.
The U.S. Men’s National Team enters the tournament with an average age of 25 years and 175 days, making it the second-youngest American team at the World Cup since 1990.
The Americans are in Group B alongside Wales, England and Iran.
Midfielders Brenden Aaronson (#11) and Tyler Adams (#4) also play for Leeds United in England, which is set to be taken over by the San Francisco 49ers.
The American men—or USMNT as they are known—last featured in a World Cup in 2014 when the tournament was held in Brazil. That summer, they advanced out of the group stage but were eliminated in the Round of 16 by Belgium. They did not qualify for the tournament in 2018.
Editor’s Note: The FIFA Men’s World Cup, hosted by Qatar, kicks off on Nov. 20 and will run through Dec. 18. For the duration of the tournament, The Standard will explore a series of soccer stories through a Bay Area lens.
The games will be televised on the Fox network and FS1 (English-language) and Telemundo (Spanish-language). View our guide to Where To Watch the World Cup in San Francisco here.
Kevin V. Nguyen can be reached at [email protected]