The second WMF Arena Soccer World Championship will take place next October 11-21 in Sonora, Mexico, the parties confirmed earlier this month at meetings in Tunisia.
While the 2015 Arena Soccer World Cup was hosted at nine different cities in the United States, the 2018 version will be confined to Hermosillo with the possibility of games in Obregon and Monterrey.
Games will be held in the Centro de Usos Múltiples, where the Soles de Sonora play, and perhaps Arena ITSON, where the MASL had hoped to relocate Atletico Baja for the 2017/18 season, and Arena Monterrey, which the Monterrey Flash calls home.
The Arena Soccer World Championship will likely field less teams than the 24 teams that participated in the WMF World Cup that was just held in Tunisia. The US hosted 12 teams in 2015, but Pan American Minifootball Federation President Sergio Del Rio expects to entertain 16-20 teams.
While arena soccer is prevalent in North America, it is scarce in the rest of the world due in large part to the lack of boarded facilities. The World Minifootball Federation oversees 5, 6, and 7 a-side soccer as well as arena soccer, but the main component now is the 6-a-side with no boards.
Arena soccer will have to fight for its place at the WMF table and win over some skeptical nations. Unlike the previous arena tournament, this one will carry the World Championship moniker. In reserving the “World Cup” label for its 6-a-side game, WMF is consciously or subconsciously showing where 5, 7 and arena soccer sit in the pecking order.
Del Rio accepts the World Championship label because the name has precedent. In 1997 FIFRA (an ancestor of what is now the PAMF) staged the Campeonato Mundial de Futbol Rapido, which was the World Championship of Arena Soccer. Mexico upended the USA in the final of that tournament.
The affiliation with WMF affords the sport a unique opportunity to reach out to countries all over the globe, and the World Championship is a chance to showcase the sport at the highest level.
Del Rio expects to release a World Championship teaser video on November 1.