2026 FIFA World Cup Already Benefiting Houston

Three quotes from DaMarcus Beasley and Dynamo co-owner Ben Guill's visit with John & Raheel with Del

On Tuesday, the Houston Dynamo announced a commitment to develop 15 mini-pitches within the next five years in the Greater Houston area. The project is being led by the U.S. Soccer Foundation, former Dynamo defender and U.S. Soccer legend DaMarcus Beasley and Dynamo co-owners Jake Silverstein and Ben Guill.

Beasley and Guill visited with ESPN 97.5 FM morning show John & Raheel with Del to elaborate on the announcement and answer a few questions on the current state of the Houston Dynamo. The following are three notable quotes from the segment:

Dynamo co-owners approached DaMarcus Beasley

"It started, the idea, with Ben and the other minority owner Jake [Silverstein]. They came to me and asked me what I thought about this idea, about creating mini-pitches around Houston and it was a no-brainer for me. A hundred percent, I'm with the youth of soccer, because that's where the future is. Its in the youth, and to be able to be a part of this program and have this project here in Houston, it means a lot. And, the fact that we have their support - from the Houston Dynamo, the Dash, and a lot of people around Houston - its a no-brainer to start these pitches."

- DaMarcus Beasley, four-time FIFA World Cup participant with USA and former Dynamo team captain


DaMarcus Beasley took part in seeing out the creation of the first futsal courts in his hometown of Fort Wayne, Indiana last year. The U.S. Soccer Legend has publicly expressed his desire to remain in Houston and to be involved in youth development in his retirement, whether that be with the Houston Dynamo or elsewhere.

Two months removed from capping off a 20-year career, Beasley has taken on his first post-retirement project and one that shows his potential of filling the void as a much needed connection between the ownership group of the club and the Houston soccer community.

2026 FIFA World Cup "a big part of it"

"Clearly its a big part of it but - even without the World Cup coming up - Jake Silverstein, who has become very involved with U.S. Soccer in Portland and has built some of these mini-pitches, and I decided it's just the right thing to do. It's the right thing to bring the game to parts of the city that don't have the opportunity to play in a safe and fun environment. We work with U.S. Soccer and have commited a bunch of money to build 15 of these mini-pitches over the next five years. It will be important to the 2026 bid and hopefully it will be very good for the Dynamo as well."

- Ben Guill, Houston Dynamo minority owner and board member of Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee

The biggest side effect of the United States hosting the 1994 FIFA World Cup was the creation of Major League Soccer, the country's longest-running first division league that will celebrate its 25th season next year. With the USA joint-hosting the 2026 FIFA World Cup with Canada and Mexico, it seems the youth game could stand next to benefit.

This initiative comes from the Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee Grow the Game strategy and "is part an overall vision for Houston that seeks to create and maintain 30 mini-pitches and expand the U.S. Soccer Foundation's Soccer for Success program in the area."

It is also part of the U.S. Soccer Foundation's plans to install 1,000 pitches by 2026 as part of their national It's Everyone's Game movement "to create greater access to the sport and its benefits in underserved communities nationwide."

The Houston Dynamo and other MLS clubs have already installed several of these futsal-style "mini-pitches" as part of their charitable programs in conjunction with an MLS WORKS initiative that began at the 2015 MLS All-Star Game.

Making Dynamo, Dash more relevant in Houston

"The important thing for the Dynamo is we need to do a better job and be more a part of the Houston community. We need to fill up that stadium every game. One reason, its a lot of fun to go and we hope with that efforts like this, that Jake and I are doing, and all the efforts the team make - the Dynamo and the Dash - will just make us more and more relevant to the city."

- Ben Guill, Houston Dynamo minority owner and board member of Houston 2026 World Cup Bid Committee


There's no secret the Houston Dynamo, and Houston Dash, have trouble filling up BBVA Stadium on a consistent basis. The average for Dynamo matches has declined steadily since the 2015 season and reached a new club-low in 2019.

The Houston-based Guill is right about one thing: the Dynamo could potentially make up a lot of ground by extending the olive branch to the community.

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Altuve's homer starting the scoring for Houston on Friday night. Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images
After a solid showing to take the three of the four-game series in Arlington against the Rangers to start the week, the Astros returned home for three against the Diamondbacks in a weekend series. They would have a slow start to the opener but would ultimately come away victorious.

Final Score (10 innings): Astros 4, Diamondbacks 3

Astros' Record: 87-60, first in the AL West

Winning Pitcher: Ryne Stanek (3-4)

Losing Pitcher: Tyler Clippard (1-1)

Bielak makes the impromptu start

With Luis Garcia having to move his start ahead by a day on Thursday instead of Friday with Framber Valdez's finger cut, Brandon Bielak made a start for Houston in the opener against Arizona. He didn't go as deep as he probably would have wanted and certainly ventured out of his comfort zone with traffic on the bases.

He loaded the bases in the top of the first, allowing a single and two walks, but was able to strand all three to keep it a scoreless game. He rebounded with a 1-2-3 second, but he dealt with a threat again in the third as back-to-back singles pressured him to start the inning. He would get back-to-back strikeouts, but that's as far as he would go as Houston moved on to Blake Taylor. Taylor got the final out of the third on one pitch, then erased a two-out double in the top of the fourth.

Altuve breaks up the no-no with a go-ahead homer

Brooks Raley took over in the top of the fifth, but in his three batters, he faced allowed a single while getting two outs before Cristian Javier took over to end the frame. Javier allowed the first run of the game in the top of the sixth, a leadoff solo homer to Kole Calhoun to put the Diamondbacks in front 1-0 before he finished the inning.

Madison Bumgarner didn't allow a single hit to the Astros through the first five and two-thirds innings. He allowed a one-out walk in the bottom of the sixth, which proved costly as Jose Altuve would get the first knock of the game for Houston, a two-run go-ahead homer. Phil Maton was the next reliever for the Astros in the top of the seventh, maintaining the new one-run lead by erasing a leadoff single.

Astros get the win in extras

The Diamondbacks tied it up in the top of the eighth against Kendall Graveman, getting a leadoff single followed by a walk, then later an RBI single to knot things up 2-2. Houston stranded a runner in the bottom of the eighth, then brought in Ryan Pressly, who tossed a 1-2-3 top of the ninth to keep the game tied.

Despite getting the winning run in scoring position with a leadoff ground-rule double by Jason Castro to start the bottom of the ninth, they would strand it as the game went to extras. Arizona scored their free runner in the top of the tenth, getting a sac fly to move it to third then going in front on an RBI single.

The Astros matched that and more in the bottom of the inning, moving their runner to third on a lineout to start the frame, followed by an intentional walk to Yordan Alvarez. Jake Meyers tied the game with an RBI single, then after another walk to load the bases, Chas McCormick was hit by a pitch to bring in the winning run, moving the Astros closer to clinching their playoff berth.

Up Next: The middle game of this three-game set will have a start time of 6:10 PM Central on Saturday. Tyler Gilbert (2-2, 3.15 ERA) is expected to make a start for Arizona, while Lance McCullers Jr. (12-4, 3.12 ERA) will be on the mound for Houston.

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