U.S. Soccer will honor the late Grant Wahl with a reserved press box seat for all men’s and women’s national team games until the 2026 World Cup, the federation announced Wednesday ahead of the USMNT’s friendly against Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles.
“To honor Grant at our first match since the World Cup, we will have a ‘WAHL’ jersey on an open seat in the press box, along with a framed photo and flowers,” U.S. Soccer wrote on Twitter. “A seat will always be left open for Grant at all home USMNT and USWNT matches from now until the 2026 World Cup.”
Wahl died on Dec. 9, collapsing while covering the World Cup quarterfinal between Argentina and the Netherlands at Lusail Stadium in Qatar. He was 49.
An autopsy performed by the New York City Medical Examiner’s office revealed that Wahl died of an aortic aneurysm.
“It’s just one of those things that had been likely brewing for years,” Wahl’s wife, Céline Gounder, an infectious disease specialist and epidemiologist at New York University, said. “And for whatever reason it happened at this point in time.
“Grant died from the rupture of a slowly growing, undetected ascending aortic aneurysm with hemopericardium. The His initial symptoms may have been chest pain he felt just before his death. No His life could have been saved by CPR and shocks.
Wahl worked for Sports Illustrated from 1996 to 2021, covering soccer and college basketball, then started his own Substack website to continue his soccer coverage. He also appeared on broadcasts for Fox Sports and CBS. Wahl authored the books “The Beckham Experiment” in 2009 about David Beckham’s move to Major League Soccer’s Los Angeles Galaxy and “Masters of Modern Soccer” in 2018. Wahl also is renowned for writing a Sports Illustrated cover story in 2002 about a high school basketball phenom named LeBron James.
On Wednesday, Wahl also was named as a recipient of the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame’s Colin Jose Media Award, which is presented to journalists who made long-term contributions to soccer in the United States. Wahl will be honored at the U.S. National Soccer Hall of Fame induction ceremony at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, Texas, on May 6.
Contributing: Scooby Axson, USA TODAY; Associated Press