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Saskatoon diehard soccer fan attends 42 2022 World Cup game, ready for 2026 Cup in North America

Click to play video: 'Saskatoon soccer has experience of lifetime at World Cup, ready for 2026'
Saskatoon soccer has experience of lifetime at World Cup, ready for 2026
WATCH: Diehard soccer fan Lee Kormish attended 42 World Cup games in Qatar. Now he is looking forward to the 2026 event where Canada will host some games and the soccer world's best players and fans alike – Jan 19, 2023

Attending a World Cup event is any soccer fan’s dream.

Saskatoon resident Lee Kormish has attended five of them, most recently at the men’s World Cup 2022 in Qatar.

He not only travelled to Qatar but was also selected as a fan leader for Canada after winning a contest. He also nominated other soccer fans in Canada to come along with him.

“The Qatar supreme committee created a fan-engaged program, the first of its kind for a World Cup. They went and searched across the globe for passionate, experienced World Cup fans,” said Kormish.

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His flight, accommodations and one match — the opener — were paid for through the committee, and Lee paid for another 41 matches out of his own pocket. There were 64 games total.

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He was there for roughly four weeks, with a busy schedule every day on top of watching the matches.

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Saskatchewan Soccer Association CEO Rahim Mohamed says fan turnout will be a sign of things to come in 2026, when Canada will be a host nation.

“Soccer is the largest participation sport in Canada. It has ties to every country around the world. No matter where you are from, when you are here you get immersed in the different cultures,” said Mohamed.

Mohamed says even though Canada didn’t win a game, sometimes it’s not the results in football but the way you play. It means a ton for the sport, the fans and the country playing at the World Cup moving forward, putting Canada on the map in the men’s soccer world.

“It’s not always about winning, about results, it’s about earning respect. Canada definitely earned respect and we earned that with the soccer world,” Mohamed said.

Both Mohamed and Kormish say the star talent will be plentiful in 2026 with Canada, U.S.A. and Mexico hosting the event. It could be the last chance the soccer world gets to see two of the game’s greatest players in Christiano Ronaldo and Leonel Messi play internationally.

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“If North America had Leo Messi and Christiano Ronaldo in 2026, that’s what every soccer fan wants,” Kormish said.

“That would be the amazing swan song to have them here playing some of their last matches ever internationally,” said Mohamed.

Remember Canada’s own rising star in Alphonso Davies. The event will be full of them.

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Kormish says there is a good chance he will be going to watch the games in 2026, as Canada will likely host between 10 and 15 matches in Toronto and/or Vancouver.

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