2026 FIFA World Cup: Houston on the move to host games

World Cup trophy - (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images)
World Cup trophy - (Photo credit should read JEWEL SAMAD/AFP via Getty Images) /

The Houston 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid Committee fortified ranks with soccer legend DaMarcus Beasley, along with National Women’s Team member Jane Campbell.

DaMarcus Beasley, the only U.S. man to play in four World Cups, has joined the Houston 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid Committee to bring games to that city. He joins former Houston Dynamo and Dash President Chris Canetti, who resigned in 2018 to take head the committee.

The Houston group didn’t have to go any further than television ratings to realize the stakes in getting some games.

The biggest American-rules football game drew 98 million viewers in 2019, according to Nielsen. Yet the FIFA World Cup in Russia pulled 3.5 billion viewers.

The committee also studied the effects of Houston’s major sporting spectacles.

The 2017 Super Bowl drew 15,000 visitors in one week and earned $347 million for the Greater Houston economy.

Rather than a week, the FIFA World Cup would schedule several matches in Houston over 30 days of events. The committee boasts that Houston is the most ethnically diverse U.S. city.

Houston hosted more major international soccer games in the U.S. last year than any city other than Los Angeles. That includes CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals and CONCACAF Women’s Olympic Qualifying matches.

All of that puts the Houston metro-area in an advantageous position to host world football.

While the pandemic has slowed activities in all major sports, the committee thought it essential to get DaMarcus Beasley, Jane Campbell, plus Houston soccer legend Brian Ching on board right now.

A decision on which cities will host games is expected by early 2021.

The Houston World Cup Bid Committee needs to refine and then complete its application soon to ensure Houston wins its bid.

As a longtime professional soccer player, current MLS executive with Houston Dynamo, and FIFA World Cup competitor, DaMarcus Beasley has vital input to finish up the bid and get full consideration to host six of the matches.

Canada and Mexico will host three games each. Houston plans to be among ten host cities. There are 17 U.S. cities in competition for the spots, including Houston.

The Houston Dash and Dynamo host games at the 22,000-seat BBVA Stadium. However, the committee is ready to commit NRG Stadium for any Houston matches. It’s got 71,995 capacity.

The outstanding pro soccer players on the committee will make a difference when FIFA officials make their site visit in Houston.

Besides Beasley, legendary Houston Dynamo player Brian Ching is on the committee. Add to that Jane Campbell, star goalkeeper of both Houston Dash and a member of the U.S. Women’s National Team. She’s also Dash co-captain.

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As soon as FIFA site investigators become convinced that Houston can handle match logistics, they will ask what happens in between those six games. That’s where DaMarcus Beasley, Jane Campbell, and Brian Ching come in with answers based on their perspectives as players and team leaders.

Houston will seal the deal for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It’s just a question of when.