The FIFA 2026 World Cup Selection Committee visited Houston on Wednesday, October 26, in an effort to determine whether or not Space City will feature as one of 10 US cities to host World Cup matches in 2026.
The search committee, which is led by CONCACAF President Victor Montagliani and FIFA Chief Competitions & Events Officer Colin Smith, toured NRG Stadium, which would host the games if Houston is in fact chosen, as well as various practice facilities around the city that would serve the national teams. After the site tours, they then rode the light rail downtown for a public event at Discovery Green.
FIFA’s delegation was led in its tour by the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, which has been preparing for this moment for years. The Committee’s President, Chris Canetti, who is also the former President of Houston Dynamo FC, described the committee’s efforts in his introductory statement at Discovery Green.
“Over the last 24 hours, we have spent time with officials from FIFA, CONCACAF and US Soccer to talk about Houston as a candidate host city and to show off all of the great attributes of our city in an effort to be one of 10 cities to become host of the 2026 FIFA World Cup in North America.”
In addition to Canetti and members of the FIFA delegation, the event featured a number of the 22 person Bid Committee including former Dynamo legends Brian Ching and DaMarcus Beasley, Houston Dash head coach James Clarkson, as well as Houston Texans safety Justin Reid.
The decision about which cities will be chosen as hosts is predicted to come at some point in the first half of 2022. While it is unclear what criteria will be most important in helping the committee make their decision, Montagliani said that Houston had done all that it could to prove itself a worthy host.
“We’re fully aware of Houston’s pedigree as it relates to events,” Montagliani said. “Obviously it’s not going to be an easy decision. But I think one of the things that we also look at, which is important in almost any sport, but in our sport more specifically, is the passion that people bring to an event, the passion that a city and a region brings. I think that today it was very evident in the excellent presentation that was done by Chris and his team today in terms of what Houston is...they showed exactly what they are in terms of the quality of city they are, the quality of experience they have and everything they can bring.”