By Paul Wulfsberg
2022 was an exciting year for American soccer fans. The United States men’s national team (USMNT) had a solid World Cup showing, tying Wales and England before beating Iran to advance to the Round of 16. With the 2022 World Cup in the rearview mirror, the USMNT pivots to 2026 when the world’s most watched sporting event will arrive in North America. Like the USMNT’s preparations, Embassy Doha’s road to the World Cup began long before the first kickoff.
U.S. Ambassador to Qatar Timmy Davis led interagency collaboration to ensure American fans could enjoy a safe, memorable experience at the first World Cup in the Middle East. Promoting the safety of American travelers was Embassy Doha’s top priority. This included sharing informational World Cup Wednesday videos, distributing flyers with embassy contact information, and staffing the international consular service center.
But it wouldn’t be the World Cup if it weren’t also fun! On social media, Davis’s soccer tricks video went viral, while staff highlighted cultural activities visitors could partake in while visiting Qatar. The Department of State, Department of Commerce, and Department of Agriculture ran a USA Pavilion on the Doha Corniche to promote American food, tourism, and higher education to approximately one thousand visitors a day.
To strengthen U.S.-Qatar ties, the public affairs section partnered with the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs to facilitate a women’s soccer exchange. Members of the Qatari women’s national soccer team visited the U.S. in September, and their American counterparts will travel to Qatar in February 2023. Building these strong ties will contribute to Qatar’s World Cup legacy and enable best practice sharing as the United States prepares to host World Cup matches in 11 cities in 2026.
Embassy Doha will be cheering on the U.S. women’s national team next at the 2023 Women’s FIFA World Cup.
Paul Wulfsberg worked in the public affairs section at Embassy Doha during the 2022 World Cup.