How could the impact of the 2026 World Cup in Dallas go beyond financial matters

In Texas – specifically in North Texas – one does not have to look far to watch the world’s best football, baseball or basketball players at a medium, high and professional level.

So it’s no surprise that young athletes in the region can often develop into starters. In addition to a number of other factors, interest and participation may encourage exposure to the highest level of play.

Organizing the world’s leading football event can have a similar impact on the region.

Dallas is one of 16 United States cities vying to host the World Cup in 2026. FIFA plans to announce 16 bid winners on Thursday – spread across the United States, Canada and Mexico. Atlanta, Baltimore, Cincinnati, Denver, Houston, Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, Boston, Philadelphia, Nashville, San Francisco, Seattle and New York / New Jersey are other state cities on offer, while Canada (Edmonton, Toronto and Vancouver) and Mexico (Guadalajara, Mexico City and Monterey) have three.

“You won’t be better than a player or a team if you don’t look [the best]”,” Said Bob Weir, a retired high school football coach whose Plano boys’ team won four state UIL titles in the 1990s. His team won the 1995 5A Class Championship just nine months after Dallas served as the host city of the 1994 World Cup.

“When you see world-class players and teams coming to this country, they get it.”

FIFA officials who visited the Dallas area in November not only noted the region’s infrastructure – from AT&T Stadium to Toyota and Cotton Bowl Stadium – but also that the region’s football culture stands out.

“I think people and passion for our game are also important,” said FIFA Vice President Victor Montagliani at the AT&T Stadium’s autumn show. “We know about the passion he has for other football, which is very obvious, but it is also a passion for our football. Not only through FC Dallas and its academy, but also through basic football in the area. “

According to Janet Campbell, president of the North Texas Soccer Association, the organization currently has approximately 125,000 registered members, making it one of the largest amateur football associations in the country. She said membership in the World Cup is rising every year, whether men or women, and regardless of the country in which the games are played.

But if the World Cup pain played in the United States and North Texas?

“I would expect that if we end the World Cup right here in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, it will be much more exciting,” Campbell said. “It will be a much greater motivation for children to get involved.

I can’t imagine anything more exciting than having the World Cup right here in Dallas-Fort Worth.

Dallas FC owner Dan Hunt (also chairman of the host city of Dallas 2026) partially attributes the region’s football passion to previous world championships – one behind the pond and the other in Texas.

“We are really the best test case in America that the World Cup can do,” said Hunt. Morning news from Dallas in November. Hunt said his father Lamar took part in the 1966 World Cup in England and thought Dallas was ready for professional football. “The [1966] The final brings Dallas Tornado and professional football. Many of these players lagged behind and set up club systems and campgrounds that built one of the richest youth systems in America. ”

After Dallas hosted six matches – and an international broadcasting center – at the 1994 World Cup, the region won the MLS team (then Dallas Burn, now FC Dallas) two years later.

“This is a community excited about football with a very rich and unique history,” said Hunt.

Hunt and the rest of the bidding commission hope to host a semi-final or final match in 2026, as well as the International Broadcasting Center again. The financial turmoil is well documented, with the Dallas Sports Commission estimating the economic impact at $ 400 million plus 3,000 jobs created. A semi-final or final match would bring even more money, believes the DSC.

But the impact of the World Cup is more than just financial. Weir saw it in 1994 and the same could happen in 2026.

“I think it encouraged the younger children to continue the program and see what the future holds,” Weir said. “It gave them some light to see something like that.”

On Twitter: @McFarland_Shawn

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Ferdinand Medina

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