U.S. bid enters critical stage [VIDEO]

[WORLD CUP 2018/2022 BID] What would it take to get U.S. national team coach Bob Bradley in a room together with Mia Hamm, Drew Carey, Henry Kissinger and New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft? They were among the attendees for Tuesday's board of directors meeting of the USA Bid Committee to bring the World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022 at Major League Soccer headquarters in New York.

U.S. Soccer President Sunil Gulati and USA Bid Committee Executive Director David Downs presided over the meeting to discuss the progress of the campaign and develop plans for the final year leading into FIFA's decision in December 2010 on the host countries for the two World Cups at stake.

The next important step will take place in the next few weeks: reduce the list to the maximum of 18 cities that can be included in the formal bid book due to FIFA in May 2010. There are currently 27 cities and 32 stadiums under consideration as host venues.

"The meeting marks an important milestone for our bid as we now start the second and final stage of our bid campaign," said Gulati, the chairman of the USA Bid Committee. "We are honored to have the ongoing support of our Board of Directors and thankful so many could take the time to meet with us today and engage in constructive dialogue about our bid. The diversity and talent gathered both in the room and on the phone will energize us as we move into the next stage of the bid process."

The meeting marked the first time during the nine-month process of selecting the board of directors that a majority of the group was able to get together to discuss the direction and targets of the bid.

Also participating in the meeting were Carlos Cordeiro, Dan Flynn, Ed Foster-Simeon, Donna Shalala, John Skipper and Joe Uva.

A group photo:

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