The FIFA World Cup will return to the United States in 2026 after a joint bid from the U.S., Canadian and Mexican soccer federations beat out its only competitor, Morocco, for the right to host. The North American bid received 67 percent of the votes—134 to 65—under a new procedure that for the first time gave each FIFA member association a vote.
“This is a great day for soccer,” said Carlos Cordeiro, president of U.S. Soccer and co-chair of the United Bid. “We have to appreciate that for the first time in 32 years we will have the privilege, the pleasure, the honor to host the FIFA World Cup for men. It goes without saying we’re very humbled by that.”
The United States last hosted the World Cup in 1994 and lost out on the last round of bidding that sent the event to Russia this year and Qatar in 2022. When the world’s largest soccer event is staged in 2026, up to 16 host cities across North America will get the chance to host, with the United States hosting the vast majority of the games. The 2026 World Cup will also be the first to expand to 48 teams.
The bid committee has already narrowed a larger list of interested cities to 23 potential host cities and FIFA and the bid committee are now expected to narrow that list again. Numerous other training sites and host cities are also expected to be needed as part of the hosting of the tournament. “It will be a very difficult decision we’ll have to make when we have to determine the final 16,” Cordeiro said. “This is not a decision I’m looking forward to because it’s going to be very hard.”
Reaction from some of the potential host cities was immediate, with local organizing committees prepared now to make the case for making the final cut.
“We are ecstatic that the 2026 FIFA World Cup will be hosted in North America,” said Monica Paul, executive director of the Dallas Sports Commission. “We are also thrilled that Dallas will have the possibility to welcome the world and put our passion for soccer on display for the greatest global sporting event. We want Dallas to be on the international stage for sports and we are committed more than ever to being a World Cup host cty in 2026.”
“This is a great day for soccer in the U.S. and for Maryland,” said Maryland Lt. Governor Boyd Rutherford, the honorary chairman of Maryland’s Host Organizing Committee. “I am excited to move the next phase of this award forward for Maryland and all our participating partners in the effort.”
The benefits of the North American bid were never really in doubt. The bid committee projected that its bid will generate $14 billion in revenue and $11 billion in overall profits. Ticket sales are projected to generate $5.8 million and the projected economic impact on host cities is projected to be $5 billion. In addition, all the proposed stadiums are already built or will be finished before the event in 2026. MetLife Stadium in New Jersey has been proposed for the final game; all final rounds would be held in the United States under the proposal.
Still, it was unknown how well the bid from Morocco might fare in the new voting procedure, which was put in place following a massive set of reforms for FIFA following the last World Cup bid process. Previously, FIFA’s 22-member executive committee voted in a secret ballot that had been called into question. Morocco’s votes came largely from African countries, although it did pick up support from several European nations including France, Italy, Belgium and the Netherlands. The North American bid, meanwhile, gained the full support of Concacaf nations and nine out of 10 across South America. It also did very strong in Asian nations, which was part of the bid committee’s strategy.
The United Bid’s final candidate host cities are:
New York/New Jersey
San Francisco Bay Area