Esteban Moctezuma, Mexico’s ambassador to the United States, joined 24 delegates from FIFA and US Soccer visiting Washington, D.C., as part of the selection process to determine what city will host the 2026 FIFA World Cup.
The Sept. 19 visit took in various sites around the nation’s capital where key events would be hosted, including FedExField and the National Mall. Other officials accompanying the delegates included D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser and Heather Grant, Canada’s minister of congressional intergovernmental relations, as well as leaders of DC2026, the team overseeing the city’s official bid.
“Together we have the opportunity to create new memories not only for soccer fans, but also for the great partnership that poses a multi-national bid between the US, Mexico and Canada,” said Moctezuma said in a prepared statement. “Being Washington, D.C., the epicenter of American foreign relations, it can also provide a good opportunity to strengthen our unity with the 2026 FIFA World Cup, a good sign of will and mutual understanding.”
Max Brown, advisory board co-chair of DC2026, said Washington is one of the world’s most recognizable cities and a global hub of culture” that makes it the premier destination for large-scale international events.
“We are a soccer city and region. We remain as confident as ever ahead of the delegation visit, which marks another important milestone with FIFA and US Soccer as we work to host this fantastic event in our nation’s capital,” said Brown. “We look forward to this next chapter in our city’s storied soccer legacy of both US and international competition.”
The FIFA delegation is traveling to 16 other US cities this fall and will likely name the final 10 host cities in March 2022.
If successful, the 2026 FIFA World Cup would mark the city’s fourth FIFA World Cup games. Washington is the only US city to have hosted the 1994 FIFA World Cup, 1996 Olympic Soccer, 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup, 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and the 2013 US Soccer Centennial Celebration.
“We’ve hosted more US National Team matches than any other city in the world and have served as the home team for many soccer legends including Johan Cruyff, Mia Hamm and Wayne Rooney,” said Mark Ein, DC2026 advisory board co-chair. “We’ve seen the legacy created by the 1994 FIFA World Cup games in our communities and the millions of lives changed through the funding and momentum those games created in DC. We are committed to using these games to create community initiatives that will build future infrastructure and provide opportunities to make soccer accessible to all—from youth across all income levels in all parts of our city and community, to women and disabled athletes.”
The home of the Washington Football Team, FedExField, is the proposed site for the 2026 FIFA World Cup and can host more than 68,000 guests with ample parking, Metro access and proximity to the city center. FedExField hosted the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and has long been the area’s top choice for hosting major international matches. Local venues including Audi Field, Georgetown University, Segra Field, the Fields at RFK Campus and Maryland SoccerPlex would also be tapped as training sites.
The Sept. 19 visit marks FIFA’s first trip to Washington during this process and follows a facilities discussion earlier this year.
“On behalf of the DC2026 Advisory Board and the entire District of Columbia, I am pleased to welcome FIFA and US Soccer’s delegates to our great city this morning,” said Greg O’Dell, president and CEO of Events DC. “These delegates will experience the heart of American history, life and culture that can be found only in our nation’s capital. We are confident that this visit through Washington, DC will exceed FIFA’s vision for what it means to host the 2026 World Cup.”
During the visit, DC2026 also unveiled its vision for the 2026 FIFA FanFest, which would be hosted on the historic National Mall, making it the largest FIFA FanFest by size. On July 4, 2026, during the FIFA World Cup games, the US will celebrate its 250-year anniversary. The event is expected to draw more than one million attendees, making it the largest attended single event in FIFA history.