Bidens To Represent U.S. At World Cup

The White House announced Thursday that Vice President Biden and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, will attend the opening ceremonies of the 2010 World Cup and the first U.S. men's game in South Africa next month.

President Obama was invited to the opening ceremonies but won't be going, though his interest in the sport is well-known.

Mr. Obama met with FIFA President Sepp Blatter last July at the White House and urged him to consider allowing the U.S. to host the World Cup in either 2018 or 2022.

And that wasn't the first time the president made such a plea.

In an April 2009 letter to Blatter, Mr. Obama said he wanted the world to gather in the U.S. to celebrate common hopes and dreams. "Soccer is truly the world's sport, and the World Cup promotes camaraderie and friendly competition across the globe. That is why this bid is about much more than a game."

The president's letter was just one part of an overall effort by the U.S. Soccer Federation in the bidding war. The selection process takes 21 months and FIFA won't announce the host country until December.

In 1994, when the U.S. last hosted the World Cup, the series broke the record for the largest overall attendance.

Although President Obama won't be attending this year's games, bringing the World Cup back to the U.S. is clearly something he's passionate about, as evidenced by the letter he sent to Blatter last year.

"As a child, I played soccer on a dirt road in Jakarta, and the game brought the children of my neighborhood together," the president wrote. "As a father, I saw that same spirit of unity alive on the fields and sidelines of my own daughters' soccer games in Chicago."