The United States withdrew its bid for the 2018 FIFA World Cup today, electing to focus solely on its 2022 bid. Via FIFA.com:
"For some time we have been in conversations with FIFA and UEFA about the possibility of focusing only on the 2022 bidding process, an option we have made reference to many times," said Sunil Gulati, Chairman of the USA Bid Committee and President of U.S. Soccer. "We are confident this is in the best interests of the USA Bid."
Usually, this means one thing: The United States knows it's not getting the 2018 bid, something alluded to later in the release:
"We have had an open and constructive dialogue with the USA Bid for some time now, after it became apparent that there was a growing movement to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Europe. The announcement of today by the USA Bid to focus solely on the 2022 FIFA World Cup is therefore a welcome gesture which is much appreciated by FIFA," said FIFA Secretary General Jérôme Valcke.
Whether assurances have been made behind closed doors that the United States is now the front runner for 2022 is unknown, but wouldn't seem to be out of the question for a political organization such as FIFA.
Why is an event that's potentially 12 years away such a big deal in these parts? For one, soccer has become immensely popular in Seattle. Second, Qwest Field is pushing to become one of the host sites if the United States is able to win the bid.
The last FIFA World Cup in the U.S. was in 1994. I was 17. If it comes back in 2022, I'll be 45. If they don't win the 2022 bid ... well, let's just hope I'm still alive when it does so that I might actually get to see one in my hometown.