North America hosting 2026 World Cup has local fans hoping for local games

MEDFORD, MASS. (WHDH) - The beautiful game is coming to America.

The United States won what is a joint bid with Canada and Mexico to host the 2026 World Cup, thrilling soccer fans who get to see the world’s top tournament up close.

At Medford’s youth development camp, the news spread quickly.

FIFA overwhelmingly voted for North America’s bid, beating out lone opponent, Morocco. It will be the first time the tournament will be held on American soil since 1994.

That tournament brought fans from around the world to the Boston area for six games, thanks in part to Robert Kraft.

“(Diego) Maradona’s last game he ever played was at the old Foxboro stadium,” Kraft said.

Soccer fan Frank Stavrianopolous says he remembers that World Cup vividly.

“I got the bug in ’94,” he said. “It was one of my first real experiences at the global level. I was 14. And I followed it ever since.”

In all, 23 venues are in the mix to host matches across the three North American countries, including Gillette Stadium. While it isn’t a guarantee — only 16 will be selected — Boston 2026 Chair and New England Revolution President Brian Bilello says he likes our odds.

“The venue exists,” Bilello said. “The transportation infrastructure exists. The airport exists. The hotels exist. There is nothing that needs to be built.”

And that gives these young players and these coaches something to shoot for. In 8 years, it could be these kids playing for the World Cup.

“That one is going to increase the interest in this young generation to play, to dream,” said Boston City FC U20 coach Cesar Deossa. “And one day, they’ll want to be part of this team or support the national team.”

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