Houston 2026 launches $6m legacy initiative as hosting bid ups the pace

September 24 – 2026 World Cup host bidder Houston has announced a $6 million campaign to support Houston 2026’s Grow the Game initiative which aims at providing underserved communities access to football. The initiative launches as FIFA’s host city bid inspections gather pace in the US.

In conjunction with the with the U.S. Soccer Foundation, the plan is to raise funding to build 30 new mini-pitches across the greater Houston area by 2026.

“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,” said Chris Canetti, President, Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee.

“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.”

More than $1.5 million has already been raised via funding pledged by new Houston Dynamo FC owner Ted Segal, along with Houston Dynamo minority owner Ben Guill and former Dynamo and Dash minority owner Jake Silverstein. Guill and Silverstein are working with former US and Houston Dynamo star DaMarcus Beasley to build 15 mini-pitches by 2024, six of which have already been installed.

“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. The program will provide young people in underserved communities with innovative spaces to play, boost their confidence and promote a healthy lifestyle,” said Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner.

The campaign also aims to fund the expansion of the U.S, Soccer Foundation’s Soccer for Success program to reach at least 15,000 local youth and train 1,000 adults as coach-mentors to run the programme.

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