Legendary U.S. National Team players and former U.S. captains Carlos Bocanegra and Julie Foudy, as well as U.S. Soccer Foundation President and CEO Ed Foster-Simeon, will join the Board for the United Bid Committee of Canada, Mexico and the United States that will oversee the bidding process to bring the 2026 FIFA World Cup™ to North America.
The three new board members bring a wealth of experience to the Committee. Bocanegra was one of the team’s most popular players during an illustrious eleven-year career with the U.S. Men’s National Team, leading the squad to numerous historic wins while serving as captain for six years. He finished his MNT career as the team’s all-time leading goal scorer among defenders.
Foudy is one of the greatest leaders in the history of women’s sports. A two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and a two-time Olympic gold medalist, she captained the Women’s National Team from 2001-2004.
Foster-Simeon has been President and CEO of the U.S. Soccer Foundation since May 2008, bringing the organization to new heights as a national leader in charitable sports-based youth development.
Bocanegra currently serves as the technical director for Atlanta United of Major League Soccer, overseeing soccer operations and working on the development of young players. With the MNT, Bocanegra played in the 2006 and 2010 World Cups and led the team to some of its most important wins of the modern era, including a 2-1 semifinal victory over then-No. 1 ranked Spain in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. He played professionally for the Chicago Fire and Chivas USA in MLS, as well as in England, France, Scotland and Spain.
Foudy, a current ESPN and espnW writer, reporter and color commentator, has been one of the most influential female athletes in the United States during and after her playing career. She has been an important advocate for women’s rights, serving as a past president and as a board member for the Women’s Sports Foundation. In 2002, she was named to a Presidential Commission on Title IX. During her international career, Foudy played in seven world championship events, starting every single match and scoring in all four World Cups in which she appeared. She is the fourth-most capped player in WNT history with 272 appearances.
Foster-Simeon has served on the U.S. Soccer Foundation’s Board of Directors since 2004. Before his time at the Foundation, he spent 15 years at USA Today, last working as Deputy Managing Editor. In his time with the paper, Foster-Simeon launched the organization’s Beijing bureau, spearheaded the planning of coverage for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and led coverage of the 1998 FIFA World Cup. A U.S. Navy veteran, Foster-Simeon has also served as Vice President of the Virginia Youth Soccer Association and President of Prince William Soccer, Inc., a Northern Virginia-based club serving thousands of players. He was inducted into the Virginia-DC Soccer Hall of Fame earlier this year.
The other members of the Board of Directors are Sunil Gulati (Chairman), Steven Reed (Canada), Peter Montopoli (Canada), Decio De Maria (Mexico), Guillermo Cantu (Mexico), Carlos Cordeiro (USA), Donna Shalala (USA), Dan Flynn (USA), Don Garber (USA) and Victor Montagliani (CONCACAF). Legendary sports executive Robert Kraft has been appointed as Honorary Chairman of the Board.
The United Bid Committee kicked off its efforts earlier this month with the formal launch of the committee and the commencement of an outreach program to more than 40 cities, under an executive leadership team that includes Executive Director John Kristick, Managing Director of Technical Operations Jim Brown, Montopoli, who is the Canada Soccer General Secretary, and Mexico Bid Director Yon De Luisa, who is a Televisa Vice President.
The deadline for the submission of the formal bid to FIFA is March 16, 2018. With less than eight months remaining, discussions have already begun with a record number of cities that will compete to serve as official host cities. Collaboration between all levels of government, along with the business and soccer communities, will be critical to demonstrate to FIFA that the first World Cup to be held in the CONCACAF region since 1994 should be awarded to Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The three nations have hosted a combined 13 FIFA World Cups (men’s, women and youth), more than any other trio of geographically-connected nations, and set attendance records for five of those events. The 2026 FIFA World Cup™ will be the first with the expanded 48-team format, requiring facilities and infrastructure that these countries are uniquely suited to fulfill.
FIFA has established a deadline of August 11 for member associations to confirm their intention to compete to host the 2026 FIFA World Cup™. All competitors must then submit a bid proposal for consideration by the FIFA Congress to be convened next June.