Community Voices
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L.A. will host matches at SoFi Stadium during the 2026 World Cup. (photo: Los Angeles World Cup Host Committee)

The UEFA EURO 2020 Cup was pushed to the summer of 2021 due to COVID. 

At the time, I had hoped to travel to Italy to watch Italy play in the first-round games held in Rome. Since this was the first time multiple countries hosted the tournament, I figured this would be an ideal vacation to enjoy soccer in Italy, but COVID changed all that. 

In the end, Italy rose to the final and beat England, in England, and became European champions for the first time since the tournament began in 1968. It was a bittersweet celebration for me because my father passed away the year prior. Although I felt his presence during the tournament, it was not the same without him. My passion for soccer was one of the gifts I learned from him growing up. I cherish it to this day and share it with my three sons.

This summer, the Euro Cup is being held in cities across Germany. So, I thought this would be a great opportunity once again to spend our summer vacation in Europe, explore Germany, and catch a couple of Italy games. 

One day, I was talking to my buddy Jack Baric and told him that if Italy and Croatia ended up in the same group in the first round of the tournament, we should see the game together. Although it was a long shot, it happened! So, plans are set to see Italy play Croatia on June 24 in Leipzig, Germany. 

If you are in San Pedro on that day, don’t be surprised to see the Italian-American Club on 19th Street and Croatian Hall on 9th Street overflowing with fans.

As we look toward the future, the 2026 World Cup will be hosted by the United States, Mexico, and Canada, with Los Angeles hosting games at SoFi Stadium in Inglewood. This provides San Pedro with a huge opportunity to host a World Cup fan zone along our waterfront. 

West Harbor will be in full swing by then and can be the host for such an event. Imagine seeing Brazil play one of its games, followed by a Brazilian music concert held at the West Harbor amphitheater, or seeing thousands of USA fans gathering to support the USMNT, similar to the large crowds that gather in Hermosa Beach for the games on Pier Avenue. 

Not far from West Harbor, the new Little Italy Piazza at the base of 6th Street will be complete and can become the host of the Italy games and the bridge between a West Harbor fan zone and Downtown San Pedro businesses showing the games. The opportunities are endless.

Our community spent decades preparing San Pedro’s waterfront and downtown to host such a spectacle. With the 2026 World Cup games being hosted in the United States, games scheduled to be played at SoFi Stadium, and San Pedro being an international port town, the time is right, and the stage is set to put San Pedro on the world stage for soccer. Let’s do this. spt

Anthony Pirozzi, Jr.

Anthony Pirozzi, Jr. is a retired San Pedro resident and former Los Angeles Harbor Commissioner. He can be reached at apirozzi@yahoo.com.

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