For Soccer Looks Ahead to the 2026 World Cup

February 6, 2024

Mike Koeshartanto

2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup Countdown

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The host market game allocations and schedule for the 48-team 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup were announced during a star-studded affair, which means we now know where each of the 104 tournament games will be played. From the first game at Estadio Azteca in Mexico City on June 11 to the final at MetLife Stadium in New Jersey on July 19, the event will be a global spectacle.

As the first-ever FIFA World Cup with more than 32 teams, the Group Stage will be busier and longer than ever before. The first two weeks following the opening games will feature four games each day and the final few days will each feature six. In the two-week period from June 11 to June 27, fans will be able to watch 76 games – nearly three-quarters of the entire tournament.

For more details on the format, the schedule, and the venues, check out the video below or view the full tournament schedule.

Our reach across North America

Much has been written about the tournament schedule, so to provide a different angle, we asked members of our team – whose locations and experiences span coast to coast and Canada to Mexico – to share their personal connections to host markets, offering a unique perspective on the tournament’s significance.

As we continue the journey to first kick on June 11 through last kick on July 19, we’re excited to showcase more of our own stories, as well as uncover and storytell what makes our region’s relationship to soccer so unique.

Western Region

The Western Region has four host markets spread across California and the Pacific Northwest. Fans in these markets can see games in the Group Stage (all), Round of 32 (all), Round of 16 (Seattle, Vancouver), and Quarterfinals (Los Angeles).

The Bay Area’s soccer journey is a tale of passion and resilience – I’m proud to call it my home. From the early amateur days to the groundbreaking 1949 college soccer championship, residents have embraced the beautiful game. Pro soccer arrived in 1967 with the San Francisco Gales and the Oakland Clippers, facing challenges but embodying the enduring spirit of our community.

The San Jose Earthquakes emerged in 1974, becoming darlings of the NASL era and weathering ups and downs. Despite a brief relocation in 2005, the indomitable spirit brought a new San Jose Earthquakes to life in 2007. Avaya Stadium’s unveiling in 2015 turned our home games into sold-out celebrations. Today, the Bay area hosts successful MLS, USL, and NWSL teams, each with passionate fan bases rooted in our soccer legacy.

As we gear up to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup, the community’s love for the sport continues to unite us and shape our soccer identity. Every day feels like a countdown and I find myself buzzing with excitement knowing our region will play a role in hosting the global spectacle.

Steve Powell

Los Angeles and the FIFA World Cup – a match made in heaven in my books! The pairing’s history dates back nearly 30 years. I was born in 1994 so I don’t remember a thing, but we’re lucky to have incredible videos and images to make it feel like we were in the stands. I firmly believe that FIFA World Cup has shaped and influenced generations of aficionados.

As a first-generation Mexican-American, it’s an absolute DREAM to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup in our backyard. Take a look across Los Angeles and it’s undeniable how passionate we are, from the grassroots to the pros. This place is going to be jumping with the energy everywhere you look.

So many barriers have been broken to advance support to where we are today. Let’s give all the flowers to all who have impacted the sport in a positive light because we’re now in such a privileged position to grow exponentially. This FIFA World Cup will be the catalyst America needs.

Fútbol, futebol, calcio, soccer — or whatever you call it… the beautiful game is coming and Los Angeles will be ready.

JJ Castillo

Being able to watch the FIFA World Cup in a city where I was a professional player is another soccer dream come true. Not only does Seattle hold a special place in my heart because of the milestone it served in my life as a footballer, but there’s also something so special about the city, its community, and what soccer means to it. Soccer pulses through its veins. Rain or shine, Emerald City supporters’ raucous chants can be heard echoing through the alleyways of downtown during the march to the match.

With the backdrop of the Puget Sound, the majestic Cascade Mountains (and the Space Needle, of course), Seattle is one of the most beautiful places to play the game in the U.S. (in my humble, biased opinion). Needless to say, I cannot wait to see the energy electrifying the city during the World Cup in 2026.

Victoria Frederick

In 2015, I decided to move to Vancouver and discovered how wonderful the city is, how passionate its residents are for sports, and the area’s multicultural touch that adds a special flavor. One of my best memories while I lived there was going, for the first time, to watch a Vancouver Whitecaps game at BC Place against New York City FC.

That day was a celebration – we all went to a pub called Cambie Bar, filled with fans from all over the world who lived in Vancouver. The bar, which I’m pleased still exists, is in Central Vancouver and has been around for more than 100 years. On game day, you could feel a vibe of great energy at the prospect of seeing incredible players like Lampard, Pirlo, and David Villa on the field. To our surprise, Lampard scored a goal with an assist from Pirlo, and David Villa scored a penalty in the last minutes. The crowd went crazy, and it was an amazing memory that I will remember forever.

If I had ever imagined that one day the FIFA Men’s World Cup would come to this beautiful city with stars like those I saw in 2015, my only thought would be that it is the perfect city with a beautiful fan base to host the tournament, so I have no doubt that it will be a success.

Claudio Martin

Central Region

This region has six markets, from Kansas City to Mexico City – a nearly 1,700-mile drive if you have that in you! If you are headed to one of these markets or if you’re already there, you’ll be able to see Group Stage (all), Round of 32 (Dallas, Houston, Kansas City, Mexico City, Monterrey), Round of 16 (Dallas, Houston, Mexico City), and Semifinal (Dallas) games.

World Cup Host City Insights – Dallas

In the first edition of a new series highlighting 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup host markets, we’ve gathered a sampling of insights to help you capitalize on World Cup soccer interest in Dallas.

In 2015, my parents retired, headed south from the suburbs of Chicago, and bought a home just outside of Dallas. Needless to say, it wasn’t the most exciting news at the time. Over the years, I’ve become quite the frequent visitor and pseudo Texan. Many #MyPLMornings pub stops at The Celt and The Londoner, a few Euros watch parties at The Star and more than a few afternoons at Toyota Stadium have helped me accept it all.

But if you told me nine years ago that the 2026 FIFA Men’s World Cup was coming to our shores and their move would give me a free place to stay in the city set to host more games than any other in North America, I may have bought them some first class plane tickets myself!

While clearly kidding, what’s undeniably true is how much I enjoy the communal viewing experience for big soccer moments. I’m so looking forward to being together with multiple generations of our family for this once-in-a-lifetime Dallas summer.

Scott Hutchison

Soccer is an essential part of the history of my hometown. In 2026, Guadalajara will be, along with Mexico City, the only two cities on the planet with the honor of hosting a FIFA World Cup for the third time. In 1970, this city witnessed Pele’s best version, and, in 1986, an unforgettable battle between Zico and Platini. Now, we are ready for the next chapter.

The third-time honor is not just an accolade; it’s a testament to Guadalajara’s capability and an invitation for the world to witness a city that has evolved without losing its essence—a blend of tradition and modernity. Here, you live and breathe soccer. Everyone’s dream since childhood is to support the Mexican National Team in a World Cup match, a dream that will come true for more “Tapatíos,” hopefully including my oldest son, who will be nine years old by then.

The Akron Stadium is just 10 min from our house. It’s an indescribable feeling that is already turning into nerves and anxiety to get those tickets that are still far from going on sale. We can’t wait to experience the roar of the crowd, the thrill of each goal, and the joy of being surrounded by soccer fans from around the globe. Let Guadalajara be the stage where emotions run high and the spirit of soccer dances through the streets with the rhythmic beats of mariachi music. Everyone is welcome to “La Perla Tapatía,” where the heart of soccer beats stronger than ever.

Maria Boccherini

Having lived in Houston for more than a decade, I’m extremely pleased to see the city host multiple games of the 2026 FIFA World Cup. It’s a well-earned reward for fans who have spent the more than 40 years seeing the Hurricane, Dynamo, Dash, an MLS All-Star Game, the Mexican National Team, other National Teams, globally-relevant Club Teams, and more.

I vividly recall the arrival of the San Jose Earthquakes in 2005, marking a turning point in Houston’s soccer culture. The Dynamo’s championship success and hosting global giants like Barcelona and Club America helped elevate Houston’s soccer scene, which will soon be elevated to even greater heights.

Now, with the announcement that Houston will host seven FIFA World Cup matches, including a Round of 16 showdown, my anticipation is beyond words and I live thousands of mile away – I can’t imagine what the buzz must be locally.

Steve Powell

Despite the splendor and diversity of Mexico, it’s fair to say that being born in this country automatically enrolls you in the soccer fandom club. Whether you’re cheering for your local team or one of the country’s powerhouses (I was born in Pachuca but root for America… I know, I missed my chance to be unique), soccer talk is a constant.

A childhood rite of passage for any Mexican soccer fan includes the belief that the Azteca Stadium is the biggest in the world, or at least could pack in more fans than Maracanã. Pachuca lies about 50 miles north of Mexico City. As is the case around major global cities, the inevitable quest for employment compels you to leave your small town in search of opportunities in the big city.

Living in Mexico City from 2011 to 2020, I seized the chance to witness America play numerous times, attended NFL games, concerts, and even boxing matches, with the pinnacle being a World Cup qualifier match between Mexico and the USA leading up to 2014. The experience of a packed Azteca, with nearly 100,000 fans belting out the national anthem, becomes unforgettable and reignites your love for everything you thought you had outgrown about the Mexican National Team.

Diego Diezgutierrez

40 years after the final whistle at the Estadio Universitario in 1986, the FIFA Men’s World Cup returns to Monterrey. The city of mountains gathers once more for one of the few expressions that celebrate the greatness of humankind: the beautiful game.

Our city is known for being an important industrial and business center, and the ‘regios’ are famously known for being proud, strong, and hardworking people. Born after 1994, I belong to a generation shaped by the memories of others who experienced arguably two of the greatest tournaments in the history of this event. Here, soccer is our most popular sport. In every corner, you can feel passion overflowing in the streets, led by two teams that have had a significant impact on the culture of our sport, and that in recent years have dominated Liga MX.

Soccer culture to me transcends borders, and generations of fans here have been waiting for this moment. The countdown has begun, and each passing day is one step closer for us to an encounter with history, backed by a feeling that surprisingly renews itself every 4 years: hope.

Marcelo Hernandez

Eastern Region

The third and final region covers markets from the southern tip of Florida to the Northwest corner of Lake Ontario. Fans in this region can see games in the Group Stage (all), Round of 32 (Atlanta, Boston, Miami, NY/NJ, Toronto), Round of 16 (Atlanta, NY/NJ, Philadelphia), Quarterfinals (Boston, Miami), Semifinals (Atlanta), and Final (NY/NJ).

Growing up an hour and a half from Atlanta and living here now, I’ve gotten a front row seat to the incredible growth of soccer in this area. In Southeast Tennessee, it was very common to play the game at the youth level, but there were certainly a select few of us outliers (to put it kindly) who really followed the game abroad.

Seeing the world’s greatest players come to Atlanta eight times, including a semifinal, is certainly surreal in a completely unimaginable way. But, living here for the past decade, it somehow concurrently feels like a natural and obvious next step for the city.

None of this happens without the vision of Arthur Blank and the way Atlanta United has captured the region. The team shot well beyond niche and is mainstream, showing college football fans and rock jock radio that soccer is just as exciting. With the U.S. Soccer headquarters moving to Atlanta, this town has quickly become a place with a real claim as one of America’s true soccer epicenters.

There’s a phrase you hear a lot here: Atlanta influences everything. My hope is the world seeing this city more intimately shows them just how culturally important and impactful it really is. I hope Atlanta shows the world how we support our teams and this sport – our way, which is both unique and beautiful. And if Gianni Infantino shows up at Waffle House, then that’s just icing on the cake.

Ryan Catanese

A lot of people who aren’t from the Northeast don’t realize how small of a city Boston is, one of smallest (by population) of the 2026 host cities. When I think about how this small city that’s been my home is playing a such a big role in the world’s largest sporting event, it brings an indescribable feeling to me.

Besides the thousands of logistical questions that rattle through my mind (its only natural given my job), I can’t help but think about the impact this event will play on a city that’s grounded in history and sport.

Being able to see champions in the making through the Quarterfinal round is something I didn’t expect to happen for Boston. Having players like Messi, Mbappe, and Mo Salah, walk the same hallways as Brady, Bruschi, and Gronk, gives me chills thinking about the history to be made.

I still reference moments from the 1994 and 1999 Men’s and Women’s World Cups on a regular basis. I can’t wait to be part of this global event and see the sport through the youths’ eyes when they walk into Gillette as the Group Stage kicks off. Watching the impact this sport has on so many is going to be something I’ll never forget.

Danielle Prior

There are not many things more trendy in the United States right now than the city of Miami and soccer. I cannot think of a better mashup than the 2026 FIFA World Cup and the Magic City – with an appetizer of Lionel Messi for good measure.

The palm trees, vibrant culture, and warm temperatures of the American capital of Latin America will be on display at Hard Rock Stadium, less than 20 minutes away from where I was born and raised.

A melting pot of nationalities on the pitch resembling the pickup fields across Miami-Dade County. Almost no place on Earth does events like my community and I cannot wait to join the party in 2026.

Homar Hernandez

We’re coming up on 30 years since the 1994 FIFA Men’s World Cup, which is crazy to think about. Back then there was so much expectation, especially with the impending launch of MLS, that soccer would take off in this country. While fervor for the sport didn’t immediately kick into a sustained high gear, the soccer industry and the American people are undoubtedly better positioned to welcome a huge growth of the sport over the next few years.

As a New Yorker, I am incredibly excited the 2026 tournament is taking place in our backyard and that we’ll have eight games very close to us. New York City needs no introduction, but I’ll paint a quick picture. This place is the most diverse city in the country with people from every corner of the globe who will come together for the world’s game like we have time and time again. From your favorite bodega to your favorite soccer bar – shout out O’Hanlon’s – and everywhere in between, New York City will be buzzing.

I will have the privilege to experience the tournament here and hopefully have the opportunity to attend a few matches. Afterwards, we’ll all watch the sport reach heights we couldn’t have imagined in 1994.

Kevin Miranda

Having the FIFA Men’s World Cup return to the U.S. for the first time in over 30 years is exciting enough, but for my home market of Philadelphia to host multiple games is the icing on the cake. My memories of the 1994 tournament are limited almost exclusively to this VHS tape my family received in the mail following the event’s completion, so 2026 will be a welcomed full-circle moment for me, personally.

As for the city and surrounding region? You already know Philly will bring the passion and the energy. Soccer’s history from the Delaware Valley to the Lehigh Valley and beyond is incredibly rich and I’m happy to have been there for some of it — from the first-ever sporting event at the Linc (Manchester United vs. FC Barcelona in 2004), to the U.S. defeat of Paraguay in Copa Centenario, and many games in between.

The hosting of FIFA World Cup games adds to a long list of milestones, both bygone and modern, that will whip the region (and the K Lot tailgaters) into a frenzy. I can’t wait to walk into the Linc like I have dozens of times before, only this time to see a FIFA World Cup game that coincides with the 250th anniversary of the founding of our country. 5-year-old me never imagined such a scenario while watching my VHS tape over and over again.


Mike Koeshartanto

For over 15 years now, I have had the opportunity to share a part of my life with one of Canada’s most fascinating cities, Toronto. It’s a city that captivates all who visit, boasting a diverse array of gastronomy, entertainment, festivals, and natural beauty. It’s a modern city that has played host to many national celebrations. While I was there, Toronto FC opened BMO Field and hosted the FIFA U-20 World Cup. It was here that I, a passionate soccer fan from Mexico, noticed the burgeoning passion for the sport among Canadian fans.

I traveled with the intention of studying English, but had doubts about whether I could find anyone with whom I could play soccer. Nevertheless, I packed my soccer cleats just in case. My suspicions seemed confirmed as I struggled to find complexes with soccer fields. However, as I met people, I discovered these almost hidden places where people gathered to play soccer. With just two stones to make goals, in Toronto’s parks, I experienced some of the most competitive matches I have ever played in with people from all types of backgrounds. Canadians, Asians, Brazilians, Argentinians, English, and Mexicans would gather in the evenings to play the world’s most beautiful sport in a city that was just beginning to realize its passion for soccer.

With all that said, I am confident the city of Toronto and its people are ready to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup and happy that it has the honor of hosting Canada’s first match.

Oscar Ochoa