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Cordeiro: 2026 World Cup will be ‘lightning rod’ for soccer in U.S.


When the U.S., Mexico, and Canada united to form a unified World Cup bid, the hope was that the three North American nations could form a powerful enough group to host a World Cup.

Those hopes became reality on Wednesday and it will come to North America in 2026.

The North American bid defeated its only challenger, Morocco, by a vote of 134-65 on Wednesday, winning hosting rights for the 2026 World Cup. Wednesday’s victory brings the tournament to North American soil for the first time since 1994 while also marking the first tri-hosted World Cup tournament.

“We believe this event will become a lightning rod,” U.S. Soccer president Carlos Cordeiro said. “It will become transformational for the sport as kids who are 8-10-12 years old can now dream of playing for a national team.

“I would say about 10 days ago, we had a sense that this was breaking our way,” he added. “To say that we knew it was going to be a landslide is probably unfair, but we knew it was going to well for us. We were very, very pleased with the result and we were delighted that it was the result that it was.

“We always had a very clear pathway to victory. We had that for some time. That triggered a strategy: how do we get there?”

That pathway was an arduous one for all of those involved with the united bid. It involved heavy travel and plenty of diplomacy as Cordeiro was one of several leaders jetsetting all over the world to drum up support.

The first step, Cordeiro says, was consolidating support in the Western Hemisphere and nailing down CONCACAF. That step was completed with the bid receiving votes from each CONCACAF member nation. Next up was South America with nine out of 10 of CONMEBOL’s member nations throwing their support behind the unified bid.

After building that momentum, Cordeiro and co. looked towards Asia, understanding that Africa was generally going to be lost to Morocco’s localized bid. By and large, the unified bid one over Asia and Oceania, receiving 36 of the 48 votes. Even Europe, previously pegged as a major battle ground, voted in the bid’s favor with 41 of the 53 votes.

In getting there, the bid overcame several hurdles. Morocco’s proximity to Europe and support in Africa threatened to make the race much closer than it ended up being, as did widespread concerns with the U.S. government’s policies on welcoming in travelers for the big event.

Cordeiro says that all three national governments were extremely helpful to the cause, with the U.S. government combining in a “bipartisan effort” to help push the bid forward.

“We were very, very grateful for the strong support of the bid from all three national governments,” Cordeiro said. “If you stop and appreciate, for a second, just the vast number of assurances and guarantees that we had to get from all three governments working together, that is a massive undertaking, for one nation let alone three nations. If there was any complexity here, it was three nations working together that raised the difficulty of getting stuff done.

“FIFA would never have awarded us this mandate today or given us the score we got, which were the highest scores, we wouldn’t have achieved that if not for the fact that we got exactly what we needed from all of our governments.”

The bidding process is now over and the road to 2026 now begins. Now that the bid has been secured, the focus will now turn towards logistics. As things stand, there are a number of details to iron out, including how FIFA will decide to handle qualifying with three potential automatic bids.

When the day comes, though, it will be a moment that the bid’s leadership committee sees as a vital one for soccer in their three countries.

“This is a great day for soccer, for football, a great day for North America. We have to appreciate that, for the first time in 32 years, we will have the privilege, the pleasure the honor to host a FIFA World Cup for men,” Cordeiro said.” It goes without saying that we’re very, very humbled by that. When we got together some years ago, to come together as a team, I think we all recognized that we are stronger as a team. No one country here, even including my own, could have done it by themselves.

“We see this is a great celebration of football and it’s something that we’re looking forward to. “


  1. “Morocco’s proximity to Europe and support in Africa threatened to make the race much closer than it ended up being, as did widespread concerns with the U.S. government’s policies on welcoming in travelers for the big event.”
    if you have to build a wall around your country and tell travelers they’re not welcome to visit, then you need to seriously look at YOURSELF, there’s something wrong with YOUR foreign policies, there’s something wrong with YOU. what happened to the usa?

  2. Maybe i missed something but with the WC spread between the US, Canada and Mexico does that mean that those 3 countries will automatically qualify out of CONCACAF leaving just 1 team to qualify through the Hex?

  3. “Ah, the 2026 World Cup?, the year we stop playing bunker football⚽, shock the world and reach the final……only to be defeated by England???????3 – 2??.”………???

  4. Soccer is at a take off point here in the US and will grow to be on a par with MLB by then, even without the World Cup.

  5. Lightening rod….that is pretty doubtful.

    I don’t doubt that US soccer will thrive, obviously, I am the Quit Whining guy, but single events like this don’t change much.

    The soccer fan in this country fall into two catagories, don’t watch domestic or do. That might be a little simple, but speaking of simple, the fans that don’t, aren’t suddenly going to say, oh ok, now I will watch.

    For players. There are a LOT of people playing soccer in the country. We need to be able to not have it be NOT pay to play, or form of hybrid where it isn’t the reason for success of a kid….like the sports where the US is the greatest in the world ( basketball )

    • I do think a lot of people are going to be very surprised where MLS is by 2026, especially if they open it up some and allow things like MLS teams are allowed to sell their DP slots. You won’t have any Real Madrids or PSG’s or Bayerns, in the USA, but you might have a good half-dozen squads on the level of Roma or Liverpool or close to that, and the way we’re building infrastructure we could easily see average attendance inch closer to 30K, which would put us ahead of every league not called the Bundesliga or Premier League.

      Do think it is actually realistic we have a legit Top-5 league by then, albeit one that is quite different and a lot more parity-based than its European counterparts.

      • You might be a little ahead of the game in 2026. I do think that the Champions League will keep those top 5 leagues ahead of MLS. Young talent from all over the world dream of playing in it so they will always want to test their talents there. Plus it will be much longer than 8 years before a kid in say Argentina is dreaming of playing for LAFC, but thousands dream now of playing for Chelsea or Barcelona.

      • I think most would be shocked to see where MLS stacks up now. Comparing it to LaLiga is going to be tough of course, but when you mean 3 time repeat winner Real Madrid it is a meaningless comparison and pretty dumb.

        I am at the point where I don’t care. It will be the best league in the world and half the US soccer watchers won’t know it. MLS is a very good league on a pace of improvement that is second to none. No real comparison actually.

        I agree 100% in 8 years…..

    • Maybe what your saying applies to adults, but the 2026 WC will absolutely have a huge impact on the kids who experience it. I was about 8 or 9 y/o during the 1999 WWC and remember going to the China/Norway semi in Foxboro and watching the Final against China in Boston while on vacation.

    • Club basketball is just as expensive as soccer, it is the pay to play model that soccer followed. The number of kids who even make Division 1 basketball without playing on the Nike or AAU Development circuits is almost zero. The only difference is because basketball is more popular sponsors are paying much more that trickles into “scholarship” opportunities for kids that can’t afford the thousands of dollars it takes. Baseball, Softball, Volleyball are all the same.

      • Well maybe, it wasn’t for us, but there are definitely more scholarships.
        I guess that is the answer. Nike money trickling down. Just need to be patient.

        The whole money thing is insane, we all agree there, Volleyball is the pinnacle.

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