The city of Dallas has joined efforts to bring the World Cup back to the United States.
City council members voted unanimously Wednesday to enter into an agreement with the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) and the United States Soccer Federation to be a host city for the 2026 World Cup if the United States is awarded the tournament.
"We're a perfect venue for the United Bid Committee to say, 'This is where we have to play a lot of the games,'" Dallas Mayor Mike Rawlings said.
Rawlings fondly remembers being in the Cotton Bowl for the 1994 quarterfinal match between Brazil and the Netherlands.
"The excitement, not only of just sport but international sport, had come to Dallas and it felt big time for me," he said.
Nearly 25 years after that tournament the mayor said Dallas is ready to recapture the World Cup magic and the estimated $300 to $500 million economic benefit that comes with it.
"We're working with Canada and Mexico, which I think is a brilliant idea, to make this truly North American and make this our NAFTA games for the first time," he said.
Dallas is one of 25 U.S. cities under consideration, along with four cities in Canada and three in Mexico.
Dallas will not be alone in its push.
Given the growth North Texas has seen since 1994, other large suburbs, like Frisco, could play a role if the tournament came back to North Texas.
"Today is a huge day for soccer in the Metroplex. Dallas is a very different city than it was in 1994, and so there are a lot of opportunities for all of the communities to pitch in to make it the most successful World Cup venue, if you will, of all the markets vying for one," said Dan Hunt, FC Dallas president and chairman of the Dallas Host Committee.
The Hunt family is synonymous with soccer in North Texas. Nearly 50 years ago, Lamar Hunt started the Dallas Tornado soccer club. He also served as the chairman of the Dallas Host Committee for the 1994 tournament.
Dan Hunt said the growth North Texas has seen makes the area a perfect fit for FIFA.
"The beauty of Dallas is that it's such a big city that I believe it could actually host two countries in the World Cup as their home base," he said. "I think Dallas is worthy of hosting the finals—at least the semifinals. That would be my big push. This is a great soccer community. It is a hot bed for local U.S. soccer."
Morocco is the other country vying to host the 2026 tournament. FIFA will announce the winning host bid in June.