Canada, Mexico and the United States have been named joint hosts of the 2026 World Cup.
According to ESPN, the three-nation bid managed to garner 134 votes from the 200 national soccer federations that voted at the end of FIFA’s annual Congress. Morocco earned 65 votes. Only Iran choose neither option, while Cuba, Slovenia and Spain abstained.
The 2026 Cup will feature an expanded field of 48 teams — the current field has 32. The joint bid plans call for 60 of the 80 games to be played in the United States, which includes all matches from the quarterfinals onward. Canada and Mexico will host 10 games apiece. The final will be played at MetLife Stadium just outside New York City.
While the United States didn’t qualify for this year’s World Cup, which gets underway tomorrow, America’s delegation sees the vote as a big moment for soccer in the United States.
"This is an incredible, and incredibly important, moment for soccer in North America and beyond," said Carlos Cordeiro, the president of U.S. Soccer.
The United States currently has only 4 million registered soccer players out of a population of 330 million. Cordeiro sees the opportunity to host the World Cup as a way to increase that number.
"I make the argument that we are a vast, powerful wealthy nation, but we have haves and have-nots, and our disenfranchised are underserved, and in many ways these are the people with whom the sport resonates most," Cordeiro said. "If we can bring them into the game, we'll go from 4 million to 12 million participants. Every little kid who is 10 years old and says, 'I want to play in that World Cup 10 years from now' — well, why can't they?"
The joint bid by the United States, Mexico and Canada estimates that the North American World Cup will produce revenues of $14 billion.
The decision couldn’t have come at a more awkward time in terms of relations between the three long-time allies. Since the G7 Summit less than a week ago, U.S. president Donald Trump has been openly feuding over trade with Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau. Meanwhile, relations have chilled between the United States and Mexico over trade and immigration.
During the decision process, much was made of Trump’s tough stance on immigration and border control. The New York Times reported that Trump wrote a series of letters to Gianni Infantino, the president of FIFA, which contained specific guarantees that foreign teams, officials and fans will not face restrictions when trying to the enter the United States for the World Cup.
The Times also obtained a letter sent from Cordeiro to top officials in each federation that also ensured the United States would welcome all players and visitors.
“In our bid’s discussions with football associations around the world, one topic has been visa and entrance requirements to the United States in 2026,” Mr. Cordeiro wrote. “I want to assure you that we take this matter very seriously and that the U.S. government has made strong commitments to FIFA.”