The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee today received support from new Houston Dynamo FC and Dash owner Ted Segal, who announced his commitment to the 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, as well as financial backing for two new community grassroots youth soccer programs in Houston, Texas.

During a press event at BBVA Stadium it was announced that Segal, a real estate developer who recently acquired a majority ownership of Houston’s soccer club, will serve on the Houston 2026 Bid Committee Board. Moreover, Segal announced financial contributions which will help launch two new programs: Freekicks Soccer and Girls’ Intro to Soccer. Both programs are part of the Houston 2026 Bid Committee’s Grow the Game initiative which aims to provide under-served communities with access to soccer.

With these new soccer programs, the Houston 2026 World Cup bid will serve as a catalyst for the significant growth of the game and engage new soccer players across.

Freekicks Soccer will take place at the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston, and will ensure kids ages 8-14 have professional coaching and are provided with soccer and training equipment. Girls’ Intro to Soccer, in partnership with Mayor Turner’s Office of Education, will take place at schools throughout Houston and create a unique in-school opportunity for fifth and sixth grade girls to learn the sport. Both programs are slated to launch this fall under the guidance of certified coaches from the South Texas Youth Soccer Association, offering consistent weekly training sessions.

During the event, Segal said: “It is an honor to join the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee. Houston is a world-class city whose diverse and passionate fan base is worthy of hosting the world’s preeminent sporting event. I look forward to supporting this important effort to bring the global game to Houston and helping to grow the game with the next generation of Houstonians with the launch of Freekicks Soccer and Girls’ Intro to Soccer.” 

Chris Canetti, President of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, said: “We are delighted to welcome Ted to our team. These two community programs, with the generous help from Ted and the Dynamo and Dash, showcase Houston’s strategic approach to its World Cup bid. We are committed to putting legacy at our core, leaving a lasting impact on the game of soccer, and leveraging the event to make Houston a better city for all.”

Kevin Hattery, President & CEO of the Greater Houston Boys & Girls Clubs, said: “Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Houston truly appreciates the support of Ted Segal, along with the Dynamo, the Dash and the World Cup Bid Committee, in allowing our Clubs to take part in the transformational Freekicks Soccer program to benefit our youth ages eight to 14. Freekicks complements two of the Boys & Girls Clubs’ core pillars, including healthy lifestyles and good character and citizenship and will connect more children and young teens with the world’s most popular sport. Hosting the World Cup in 2026 would give our members exposure to soccer at the highest level.”

City of Houston Director of Education Olivera Jankovska, said: “Girls and women often hesitate to dream big – whether that’s taking the next step, making that call, posing that question, or entering a soccer team – they often doubt their capabilities. I have always advocated for girls to be empowered with confidence. I want to thank Ted Segal, the Dynamo and Dash, and the World Cup Bid Committee for establishing this program and working with the Mayor’s Office of Education as we can collectively help make an impact in these areas.”

Houston 2026’s combined efforts with the Dynamo and Dash focus on strengthening existing grassroots programs in a collective manner and building on the strong foundation of support for soccer in the city. This support was demonstrated when Houston recently hosted sell-out crowds and international players for Concacaf Gold Cup matches. Earning the right to host World Cup matches would be an honor for the greater Houston area and generate significant and lasting benefits for the community.

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