Houston Dynamo and Dash President John Walker joined the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee during its presentation to FIFA and US Soccer earlier today, as the City of Houston made its formal pitch to host the world’s most popular sporting event.
The meeting was led by Walker’s predecessor at the Club, Chris Canetti, and by Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Chairman John Arnold. They were joined in the presentation by Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner along with leaders from throughout the Houston sports community.
“We had a positive and productive initial one-on-one meeting today,’’ Canetti said following the presentation. “It was an opportunity for our city to highlight the work that we have put into this bid over the last 18-months. Our goal was to make a strong first impression and to deliver a message that Houston is ready to deliver a safe and life-changing experience – a World Cup of the Future.”
Although the Dynamo and Dash are in primarily a supporting role during the bid process, Walker noted the importance of hosting World Cup matches to the overall soccer community in Houston and pledged to put the Club’s shoulder to the wheel in helping bring the tournament to H-Town.
“We appreciate the opportunity to participate in today’s presentation and are aligned with the Vision of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee – to leverage the power of the world’s most prestigious and popular sporting event to help grow the game and expand its impact as a force for change and social mobility, locally and worldwide,” Walker said. “Everyone at our Club understands the importance of this effort, and we are committed to doing everything possible to support it.”
Houston is one of 17 cities under consideration to host matches for FIFA World Cup 2026. Over the past two decades, Houston has established itself as a championship city and hosted more major sports events including two Super Bowls and a Final Four than any other major city in the U.S. Houston has also hosted several international matches since 2003, including the Gold Cup and Copa America events.
Final site selections will be announced in 2021.
In addition to Mayor Turner, Canetti, Arnold and Walker, FIFA and U.S. Soccer also heard from Janis Burke, President and CEO of the Harris County – Houston Sports Authority; Susan Christian, Director of Special Events for the Mayor’s office; Premier Partnerships President John Kristick and former executive director of North America’s bid to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup; NRG Park General Manager Mark Miller; and John Solis, Vice President of Convention Sales and Services at the Greater Houston Convention and Visitor’s Bureau.
FIFA will be scheduling venue visits to each of the 17 cities to see both the cities and the stadiums. With the world still battling the global pandemic, FIFA will follow recommendations from health organizations to ensure safe visits to the sites.