CUP RUNNETH OVER

Combined bid from United States, Mexico and Canada lands 2026 World Cup

Three countries will host the 2026 World Cup. Courtesy photo

The United States will not be playing in the 2018 World Cup, but the country still got some good news this week.

Early Wednesday morning, FIFA approved a bid for the U.S., Mexico and Canada to host the 2026 World Cup. It will be the first World Cup in America since 1994. 

The plan is for the United States to host 60 of the 80 matches, with 10 each in Canada and Mexico. There will be 16 total host cities. Canada has three finalists (Edmonton, Toronto, Montreal) and Mexico three (Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City), so the U.S. has 17 remaining bid cities for 10 spots.

It will be the first World Cup for Canada, which is still emerging at international soccer (although the women's team has had some success) and the first since 1986 for Mexico. 

Houston is one of the 16 U.S. cities bidding for the remaining spots, as is Dallas. The United bid group met in the Houston last November, which bodes well. At the very least, at least one of the two cities is a lock, so soccer fans in the state will have access to at least some games. 

So while 2018 was a soccer disaster for the United States, thanks to Wednesday's vote, the future looks much brighter, and soccer fans in North America will finally be treated to the sport's biggest event once again.

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Walter will host The Night of Champions. Photo by Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images.

In 2014, Austin Walter rushed for 2,704 yards and 34 touchdowns as a senior at Crosby High School. Despite falling short of a state title, Walter was named District 19-4A MVP and finished his prep career with a little over 6,000 rushing yards on 613 carries (6,062 yds). Seven years later, Walter will be returning to his high school alma mater to give back to the community that laid the foundation for an NFL career as a member of the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's a blessing to be able to come from a small town and be one of the guys who made it out," Walter said. "Not a lot of people made it to the NFL or the NBA from Crosby High School. To be one of the first, it's an amazing feeling. It's a blessing and an honor."

On Thursday, April 15, Walter will host The Night of Champions to benefit the Crosby High School Booster Club from 6-9 p.m. The event will be a weight lifting competition at Crosby High School for student-athletes around the area to showcase their talents and abilities.

In addition to hosting a weight lifting showcase, Walter will also share his life teachings with student-athletes in attendance. Perseverance and not taking no for an answer will be one of the most vital messages the Crosby native will share with aspiring pro-athletes. It's the two virtues Walter has leaned on from little league football to the NFL. And as an undrafted prospect in 2019, it was that same morale that helped him outshine six other running backs during the 49ers rookie training camp that same year.

"Before I started playing football in high school, a lot of people thought I was too small," Walter said. "They thought because we played little league and not in middle school we would not make it in high school. My twin brother [Ashton Walter] and I did not listen to that. We just kept pushing forward."

"When I left Rice, people thought I was going to play in the Canadian league or AFF, and I did not take no for an answer. I believed in myself. And I believed in God. And if I can make it out of a small town like Crosby, anybody can make it...It's the mentality I've had my entire life of not quitting. I feel like that is what got me to the point I am at right now."

Whether their life goal is to play in the NFL or not, Walter's primary objective for The Night of Champions is to be an inspiration and show kids they can find success despite their environment. It is one of the things the former XFL running back (Dallas Renegades) wished he would have seen growing up in Crosby.

After graduating from Crosby High School, Walter went on to have a record-breaking collegiate career at Rice University. He became one of two players in school history to rush for over 1,500 yards (1,744 yds.) and 1,000 kick return yards (1,548 yds.) in four seasons with the Owls. In February, Walter signed a one-year contract extension to re-join the 49ers ahead of the 2021 NFL season.

Click here to learn more about The Night of Champions at Crosby High School or support Walter and the Crosby High School Booster Club.

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