By CBS3 Staff

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Philadelphia is making its big pitch to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup. On Wednesday, the city welcomed a delegation from FIFA and U.S. Soccer.

Delegates got a warm welcome when they showed up at Lincoln Financial Field on Wednesday afternoon. Over 200 soccer fans were on hand cheering the delegation into the stadium complex, with welcome banners posted everywhere.

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Leaders of FIFA and U.S. Soccer were welcomed by Mayor Jim Kenney, the incoming chair of the Philadelphia Soccer 2026 World Cup hosting committee, and the president of the Philadelphia Eagles.

“No other city in the country has a better track record of hosting major events over the past few years,” Kenney said. “The papal visit in 2015, the DNC in 2016, the NFL Draft in 2017 and of course, the Eagles’ Super Bowl parade in 2018.”

It was all hands on deck, rolling out the red carpet. And you could see its effect, from the smiles on their faces.

Philadelphia is one of 17 cities in the U.S. being evaluated. Ten of those cities will be selected to host the matches of FIFA World Cup 2026.

Eyewitness News is told this is the only site visit being made to Philly by FIFA before decisions are made next year. Fans are hoping that we get the official nod.

“It’s everything. It’s the World Cup,” Mike Carter of North Philly said. “It’s the largest event on planet Earth and you got the best city in the world so it’s the perfect marriage.”

“I think Philadelphia has the best fans in the world and I think it’d be great camaraderie for our children involved in soccer to participate and come and for the rest of the world to see what a great city we are,” Nicole Deely said.

Fans participating in Wednesday’s event were all vaccinated.

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To help secure the bid, Philadelphia representatives also released a 30-second pitch video featuring several athletes with ties to the Philadelphia area, including Zach and Julie Ertz, Carli Lloyd and Heather Mitts.

The Sons of Ben, the official support group for the Philadelphia Union, will also help to try and convince FIFA to select Philadelphia. They held a rally Tuesday night in Love Park, and on Wednesday, they will be on hand at several of the stops that FIFA will make on their tour through the city.

“We want to share two things — the love for the game of soccer and the love for the city of Philadelphia,” Sons of Ben President Matt Gendaszek said. “We’re just here to spread the word that FIFA is here and we want the World Cup here in 2026.”

Leaders of FIFA and U.S. Soccer say the city’s enthusiasm, love and culture were evident on Wednesday.

“At the end of the day, it’s not what sets you apart, it’s what you are. You need to just be what you are,” Victor Montagliani said.

They realize hosting the largest sporting event in the world will make a difference for the city.

“Not to mention the hundreds of millions of dollars of economic benefit, but just the exposure on just a platform is just enormous,” Colin Smith said.

FIFA and U.S. Soccer will wrap up their tour later this year.

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CBS3’s Alecia Reid contributed to this report.