STORY: FIFA said Thursday that a list of 16 cities across the United States, Canada, and Mexico will be host cities for the 2026 men’s World Cup. The sprawling soccer championship will be the biggest-ever for FIFA, the first to have 48 teams play, from New York to Vancouver, from Mexico City to Kansas City. FIFA president Gianni Infantino said he hopes the event will make soccer the biggest sport in the U.S. by the time it all kicks off. “I think uh… this part of the world doesn’t realize what will happen here in 2026, I mean, these three countries will be upside down and then flipped again back. The world will be invading Canada, Mexico and the United States, and they will be invaded by by a big wave of of of joy and and of happiness, because that’s what football is about.” The 1994 World Cup, the last time the United States hosted, sparked a boom in popularity for soccer, with Major League Soccer kicking off its inaugural season two years later. At a watch party of Thursday’s announcement, New York mayor Eric Adams painted his city’s host status as a victory after two years of lockdowns and uncertainty. “Today, these young people and their enthusiasm, they took the question mark and they turned it into an exclamation point, we are America, we are New York, we are New Jersey. You’re darn right we’re going to be all right – the World Cup is coming here to New York and New Jersey.” On Thursday – there was still no indication of where the opening game or the final will be played. Sixteen cities were selected for the championship but there were 22 initial bids. Among those left out were Orlando, Cincinatti and the U.S. capitol – Washington, D.C., would have jointly hosted with Baltimore.