The Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee and the U.S. Soccer Foundation have announced a $6m campaign aimed at providing communities access to the world’s most popular sport.
The committee laid out plans to raise funding for and create 30 new mini-pitches across the greater Houston area, with an aim to dramatically increase participation in high-quality soccer programs by 2026.
To do this, the committee is partnering with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, a national non-profit organisation with a mission to provide underserved communities access to innovative play spaces and evidence-based soccer programs that foster well-being and help youth achieve their full potential.
Chris Canetti, President of the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee, was excited to see the work that would come from the support.
“As part of our 2026 FIFA World Cup Bid, we are focused on creating a legacy. We want to make a lasting impact long after the matches are over,” he said.
“As part of that legacy, we are motivated to help grow the game while positively impacting the lives of local youth. This collaboration with our community and the U.S. Soccer Foundation is a strong example of these things. We look forward to delivering an impact well into the future.”
In addition to the creation of 30 mini-pitches, the $6m campaign aims to fund the expansion of the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program to serve at least 15,000 local youth and train 1,000 adults as coach-mentors to run the program.
Soccer for Success has been recognised nationally for its ability to improve the health and social outcomes of its participants. Houston Parks & Recreation has been running the Foundation’s Soccer for Success program since its inception.
“Soccer is a dynamic, fast-paced sport with a global audience, and it makes sense to increase access for young people in the nation’s fourth-largest and most diverse city,” Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner said.
“The program will provide young people in underserved communities with innovative spaces to play, boost their confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle. It also aligns with my Complete Communities initiative to ensure that all Houstonians have equal access to quality services and amenities. It is a win-win for everyone.”