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By ESPN Staff

Schwarzenegger joins U.S. bid committee

NEW YORK -- California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger joined the group trying to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022.

Schwarzenegger's support is considered a key element in U.S. Soccer's bids because several California venues traditionally are used for international games. The 1994 World Cup and 1999 Women's World Cup concluded at the Rose Bowl and the 2003 Women's World Cup final was at the Home Depot Center.

"Soccer is the world's most popular sport and California has been home to some of its most exciting games, and I am proud to be a part of bringing the World Cup back to the United States," Schwarzenegger said. "The millions of fans from around the globe that will travel to the United States to cheer their teams will prove a great benefit for our state, our nation and the world of soccer."

Six stadiums in California are among 58 venues in the U.S. under consideration for World Cup matches in 2018 or 2022: Rose Bowl (Pasadena), Stanford Stadium, Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum, Qualcomm Stadium (San Diego), Memorial Stadium (Berkeley) and Oakland-Alameda County Stadium. No other state has as many as six stadiums in the running.

"California is a soccer state in every sense of the word, with participation and avid support at all levels, from its vast youth system to the professional ranks," said Sunil Gulati, chairman of the U.S. bid committee and president of U.S. Soccer.

The United States is one of nine candidates seeking the World Cup in 2018 or 2022. The others are Australia, England, Indonesia, Japan, Mexico and Russia, with joint bids from Netherlands-Belgium and Portugal-Spain. Qatar and South Korea have applied as candidates only for 2022.

Both tournaments will be awarded in December 2010.

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