Doubt. That’s what I was experiencing last night before I went to sleep. Doubt. Could it happen again? Would the United States have the rug pulled out beneath it for the second time when the final World Cup 2026 vote was announced? Just like when Qatar prevailed over the USA in the vote for World Cup 2022.
It can be tough being a fan of soccer in the United States. People look at you funny. Soccer? Really? What about LeBron vs. Steph? The Dallas Cowboys? The freakin’ New York Yankees? God forbid you follow Major League Soccer. Why would you watch that? The level of play is terrible. What about the Premier League or the Bundesliga?
Even this morning, after posting the announcement on my work chat (I work at a United States Soccer Federation Development Academy), there was still the typical anti-American jibe from one of the Europeans on staff who said, “[the] USA still won’t qualify.” Really?
But we American soccer fans, at least the hard-core ones like myself, have grown thick skin. Nothing will stop us in our love of the game and desire to make soccer grow and improve in the United States.
The United States Men’s National Team may not win a World Cup in my lifetime. It’s the truth. It may happen, but I’m not holding my breath. The United States Women’s National Team on the other hand is absolutely amazing and deserve high praise - but that is a story for a different article.
Therefore, when the United States won the vote to host World Cup 2026 it is a dream come true for all of us. There really hasn’t been much to cheer about in US Men’s Soccer for several years now (with some exceptions being the Gold Cup triumph in 2017 and the strong performances of the youth teams).
Hosting World Cup 2026 will give the country a much needed shot in the arm and eight years of positive momentum. This is the boost the country needed for its soccer culture to continue to grow and thrive.
Nothing brings energy to a country like a World Cup. Casual fans will multiply and some will morph into hardcore fans without even realizing it at first. Children will be more apt to play soccer. I can’t even begin to count the ways how the announcement will help soccer from the grassroots level all the way up to the professional ranks.
It’s a big day for US Soccer - one to savor.