Yesterday at a press conference at City Hall, the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee and U.S. Soccer Foundation came together to announce a $6 million campaign that will fund the creation of 30 new mini-pitches in the greater Houston area and an increase in youth soccer programming.
As the entire city of Houston awaits FIFA’s decision as to which 10 US cities will serve as hosts in the 2026 World Cup, which will take place across the United States, Canada and Mexico, the committee is aiming to bolster Houston’s resume as a world-class soccer city and a worthy choice to host the World Cup.
For Mayor Sylvester Turner, this initiative goes a long way in showing exactly why Houston is a deserving World Cup host city.
“The FIFA World Cup is the most popular and prestigious sporting event in the world and as a world-class city, it's important that we host it right here,” Turner said. “Hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup would put Houston in the global spotlight...thousands of visitors will descend on our great city, resulting in a significant impact, perhaps upwards of a billion dollars.”
Joining Turner at the press conference were Houston Dynamo FC President John Walker, President of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Chris Canetti and U.S. Soccer Foundation President Ed Foster-Simeon.
Houston is one of 17 US cities vying to be chosen for one of the ten slots to host the 2026 World Cup. While Canetti is focused on ensuring that Houston’s case to be selected is as strong as possible, by the time FIFA visits Houston in late October, he is also determined to leave a lasting positive impact on the city that extends well beyond 2026.
"We know that Houston is a great city. We know that we have the experience, the know-how, of hosting major events. We also know we have tremendous infrastructure,” Canetti said. “But it is things like our legacy strategy that will hopefully set us apart from the competition.”
More than $1.5 million of the $6 million initiative has already been raised due to the combined contributions of Houston Dynamo FC owner Ted Segal, minority owner Ben Guill, and former minority owner Jake Silverstein. In addition to the significant investment from the Dynamo owners, Mayor Turner called on the business leaders of Houston to step up and help ensure that the $6 million goal is reached.
"It is a win-win for everyone and this program shows how our city is proactively thinking and acting when it comes to our World Cup legacy strategy,” Mayor Turner said. “We look forward to working with the Foundation on achieving this goal and impacting our community in the most positive way. And I encourage our great companies of Houston to get behind this initiative and achieve this goal."