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U.S. can be a world soccer power - Infantino

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Published in Soccer
Wednesday, 22 January 2020 05:35

FIFA president Gianni Infantino said the United States is "on the verge of becoming a great soccer power" during a dinner hosted by President Donald Trump on Tuesday night.

President Trump is attending the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, and with the U.S., alongside Canada and Mexico, set to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, Infantino was invited to introduce the president at a dinner with global business leaders.

"I have to inform you that the U.S. is on the verge of becoming the soccer power of the world," Infantino said during his address.

"President Trump has been in this venture [planning for the 2026 World Cup] since the beginning. He wanted it to be organized with Canada and Mexico.

"The American dream is something we all need to have. All those who love soccer. The 4 billion people around the world. We all need to dream this dream and I am sure that with your help, President, with your contribution and the contribution of all of you here, we can make sure that the American dream becomes reality, not only in America, as we have seen, but all over the world."

The U.S. has high hopes for the years ahead, with the men's national team -- featuring Christian Pulisic and Weston McKennie -- hoping to qualify for the 2022 World Cup after missing out on the last tournament. The U.S. has won the past three Women's World Cups, including last year's event in France.

Trump and Infantino last met in September at the White House, with the two men discussing equal pay for women's soccer on that occasion. At Tuesday's dinner, Trump expressed his excitement at the men's World Cup coming to the U.S. for the first time since 1994.

- World Cup 2022 qualifying: All you need to know

"It's an honor to be involved with bringing the World Cup to the United States," President Trump replied in response to Infantino's address.

"I was involved as president-elect and even a little bit before that, but they called and they said, 'Could you help?' And through yourself [Infantino] and your people, [FIFA] chose the United States, and we're bringing some games to Mexico and to Canada, and it will be tremendous.

"It's going to be very exciting. ... I want to thank you very much. You have been my great friend, and it has been an honor."

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