Parks urges Angelenos to vote for soccer

OW Staff | 6/16/2010, 5 p.m.

LOS ANGELES, Calif.--As the World Cup soccer tournament got under way recently in South Africa, a city councilman launched an effort for Los Angeles to host some of the games in 2018 or 2022.

Eighth District Councilman Bernard Parks called on Angelenos to sign a petition on the website www.GoUSABid.com.

If the United States wins approval from the Federation Internationale de Football Association to host a future World Cup, Los Angeles would be one of the potential host cities, according to his office.

"It's important that we send a message to FIFA, the organizing body, that the city of Los Angeles is very, very serious about our bid," Parks said.

"It's absolutely essential that officials can see there's a groundswell of support for these games (in Los Angeles)."

Parks added that Los Angeles has a history of hosting major international events, including two Olympics.

FIFA held the World Cup in cities throughout the United States in 1994-- including the championship match at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena--drawing a total of 3.5 million people and an average attendance of nearly 70,000 per match.

In a first round game recently, South Africa and Mexico played to a 1-1 tie, and in a highly anticipated match, the United States played England to a 1:1 tie last Saturday.

Next up on their agenda is a match June 18 against Slovenia. This is a must-win for the Americans, and the pressure is intense because a Slovenian midfielder has already predicted victory for their side.

The U.S. team includes eight African Americans on the squad's 23-man roster--Jozi Altidore, Edson Buddle, DaMarcus Beasley, Ricardo Clark, Maurice Edu, Robbie Findley, Tim Howard, and Oguchi Onyewu.

City News Services also contributed to this story.