The Federal Internacional Football Association is adding 16 new teams to its international soccer tournament. Meanwhile, soccer players at San Quentin hope their 2017 season expands to playing more than just one outside team.
FIFA currently has teams from 32 nations that compete for the world cup every four years. The FIFA governing council approved a plan to go from a 32-nation format to 48 by 2026.
“We are in the 21st Century, and we have to shape the football World Cup of the 21st century,” FIFA President Gianni Infantino said in the New York Times. “Football is more than just Europe and South America. Football is global.”
San Quentin allows teams from the outside community to compete inside its walls. However, soccer games went nearly a decade without playing outside teams until last year, San Quentin Soccer Coach Garvin Robinson said.
Students from University of California at Berkeley were the first outside soccer team to break the drought. The team, Hermanos Unidos, returned to San Quentin’s Lower Yard to play three games against two teams of incarcerated men before the season ended last year.
“When the sports season restarts in February, we expect to have more games against more teams,” Robinson said. “We’re also working on getting new goal post, jerseys and cleats.”
Players at San Quentin just hope to play more games than they did last year.