She is back ! Organized for the first time in the United States in 1994, the Football World Cup will return to North America in 2026. Sixteen cities, for the first time spread over three countries, have been selected by FIFA to host the matches: three in Mexico, two in Canada and eleven in the United States. From New York to Los Angeles to Kansas City, here’s everything you need to know about the US cities of the next World Cup (the list of matches by city will be revealed later this year).
New York/ New Jersey
We no longer present New York and its growing love for football. From bars to sports fields, football is everywhere in the Big Apple. The city hosts two MLS teams, NYC FC which plays at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx, and the New York Red Bulls, residents of the beautiful Red Bull Arena located in Harrison, New Jersey. This is also where Gotham City FC, the local women’s team (NWSL), plays.
But the matches of the future World Cup will not take place in either of these two stadiums, deemed too small or not suitable for football. It is the MetLife Stadium and its 87,000 seats that was chosen by the organizers. Built in 2010 and accessible in just 30 minutes by public transport from Manhattan, the stadium in East Rutherford (NJ) normally hosts the two local American football teams, the Giants (NFL) and the Jets (MLB). Seven matches were played here or rather right next to the Giants Stadium (since destroyed) during the 1994 World Cup, including the semi-final between Italy and Bulgaria. Like most stadiums on this list, MetLife Stadium has a synthetic turf, which is not legal for World Cup matches. A real grass surface will have to be installed by then.
Miami is one of the most Latin cities in the United States. It is no coincidence that David Beckham decided to set up his football team there in 2018, Inter Miami (MLS), which plays its matches in Fort Lauderdale about forty minutes north of Miami. The former glory of English football has brought back in his suitcases Gonzalo Higuain, the Argentine striker who passed through Real Madrid. Here too, the Inter Miami stadium is too small to host the World Cup matches, so another NFL stadium, the Hard Rock Stadium, will be used on D-Day. This 67,500-seat enclosure , located in Miami Gardens 15-20 minutes from downtown, underwent an impressive $500 million facelift in 2016. Renovations include adding a retractable roof and redesigning VIP areas. This is the first time that Miami will host World Cup matches, in a city that is definitely opening its doors more and more to football. Inter Miami will soon begin construction of its own 25,000-seat stadium in the heart of the city, slated to open in 2025.
Like New York, Boston has a history with football and the World Cup. The Foxboro Stadium, since destroyed, hosted six matches in 1994, including the quarter-final between Spain and Italy. The biggest competition will therefore return to Massachusetts in 2026, but on the side of Gillette Stadium, the famous stadium of the New England Patriots (NFL). This beautiful 65,800-seat arena is not the easiest to get to, located 45 minutes south of Boston. It is also home to a very successful MLS team, the New England Revolution, which won the regular season title last year with a record scoring run. His coach is none other than former Team USA coach Bruce Arena, who led the American team to the quarter-finals of the 2002 World Cup, a historic result.
It will also be a first for “Philly”, the city renowned for its cheesesteak and the Eagles team (NFL). The World Cup matches will take place at Lincoln Financial Field, a 69,000-seat multi-sports stadium located south of the city, which has the distinction of having been inaugurated by a football match in 2003 between Manchester United and Barcelona. Philadelphia has had a soccer team in MLS since 2010, the Union, which regularly plays the top roles in the American League, and won the regular season trophy in 2020. Its captain, Alejandro Bedoya, played for three seasons in Nantes in the French championship (2013-2016).
Atlanta pulled off a real feat in 2017: bringing a city together and filling an entire stadium almost overnight around a new soccer club, Atlanta United FC (MLS). The team plays regularly to sold-out crowds in the new Mercedes-Benz Stadium, a 74,000-seat stadium with a retractable roof. After only five years in the league, Atlanta United FC is already a success story with three trophies including the national title in 2018. The Georgians therefore look forward to their first World Cup at home, in a city and region more than ever focused on football.
Land of Mexican immigration in the same way as San Antonio and Houston, Dallas is renowned for the quality of its football training, undoubtedly the best in the country. Many players trained here have broken through at the highest level, such as Ricardo Pepi (Augsburg), Weston McKennie (Juventus), Tanner Tesmann (Venice) and local star Jesus Ferreira (FC Dallas). FC Dallas, which joined MLS when the league was founded in 1996, plays its matches at Toyota Stadium in Frisco, which also houses the Soccer Hall of Fame Museum, the national museum dedicated to the history of soccer. Dallas had hosted six matches during the 1994 World Cup, including the quarter-final between the Netherlands and Brazil. The 2026 matches will take place at prestigious AT&T Stadium, an impressive 80,000-seat venue used by the Dallas Cowboys (NFL).
FIFA (world organizer) definitely likes covered stadiums. Not necessarily the favourite, the city of Houston was finally selected for the quality of its infrastructure. The 72,000-seat NRG Stadium has a retractable roof that helps keep out the hot, humid South Texas weather. It hosts the local NFL team, the Houston Texans. Unlike the cities mentioned above, Houston does not really vibrate for football. The Dynamo, his MLS team since 2006, does not attract crowds or good results. The matches scheduled on site in 2026 should help it gain in popularity and visibility.
Two little “Frenchies” play for the Kansas City MLS team (Sporting KC), which plays every game in a full stadium at Children’s Mercy Park. Rémi Walter (ex-Nice) and Nicolas Isimat-Mirin (ex-Monaco) fell in love with the local football culture, which dates back to the 1970s with the exploits of the Kansas City Spurs, the region’s first team and championship winners in 1969 (NASL). The Sporting Kansas City training center is also a jewel of modernity opened in 2018, with 12 courts spread over 20 hectares. Proof of the interest in football in the region, a women’s club was born in 2020, Kansas City Current, which plays at the best national level (NWSL). The 2026 World Cup matches will take place at Arrowhead Stadium, home of the Chiefs (NFL), which can accommodate 76,000 people.
Like New York, Los Angeles has always been a soccer capital and continues to attract more and more fans today. If the legendary Rose Bowl in Pasadena had hosted the World Cup final in 1994, the organizers have decided to bet on modernity for 2026, since it is the brand new SoFi Stadium in Inglewood that has been selected. The Rams stadium (NFL), last winners of the Superbowl, also has a retractable roof and 70,000 seats. As for the local football teams, the LA Galaxy is the most popular club thanks in particular to the arrival of David Beckham in 2007. The Swedish Zlatan Ibrahimovic also played here from 2018 to 2019. The local rival is Los Angeles FC , a team set up in 2018 by several investors including actor Will Ferrell and former basketball player Magic Johnson. A new women’s team, Angel City FC (NWSL), has also just been created this year by actress Natalie Portman. The club, owned only by women, claims to be feminist and social.
San Francisco / Bay Area
Traveling to San Francisco is like going back to the origins of football in the United States. It was here in the Bay Area that the first official American league was born in 1902, the San Francisco Soccer Football League (SFSFL). Oddly, no San Francisco team has survived the years, unlike other Bay Area clubs like the San Jose Earthquakes. Like New York or Los Angeles, the Earthquakes joined the first American professional championship (NASL) from 1974. The team now plays in MLS. Just 30 minutes from San José is the prestigious Stanford University, which hosted World Cup matches in 1994. For this new edition in 2026, the matches will take place in Santa Clara in the suburbs of San Jose. Note that the French Football Federation has opened an academy 45 minutes away in Santa Cruz, convinced by the potential of the region.
We’re saving the best for last with Seattle, home to arguably the best fans in the country. It must be said that the local team, the Seattle Sounders, are a real success story in MLS. It is quite simply the best team since the league’s creation in 1996 with three national championships, four cups, and a very recent success in 2022 in the CONCACAF Champions League (zone which includes North America, Central America and the Caribbean). Nearly 50,000 people travel to each game to see the Sounders at Lumen Field, one of the best attendances in the country. The club shares its stadium with the women’s team of OL Reign, bought by Olympique Lyonnais in 2019. This is where American star Megan Rapinoe, icon of the fight for equal pay between men’s national teams, plays and feminine. Proof that football has developed recently in the region, Seattle had not hosted matches at the 1994 World Cup. It will be done this time at Lumen Field.