The Soccer Show: FIFA World Cup 26 will be “Major step forward for the sport” in U.S.

(Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Getty Images)

Gillette Stadium has many of the world’s premier events over its more than 20 years of existence, including a trio of concerts last weekend by a certain pop star that dominated headlines across the region. DJ Bean, host of The Soccer Show, mused with Brian Bilello, President of Boston Soccer 2026, that the FIFA World Cup 26 games hosted in Foxborough three years from now will look like “Taylor Swift on steroids”.

“There’s just nothing like it. You’re taking the passion that we have in the United States for professional sports, and in some cases college sports, and you’re pouring all of that into national pride,” said Bilello, also president of the New England Revolution. “Plus that same passion for sports, plus the best athletes in the world playing the most popular sport, and knowing that there are literally, on some of these matches, over a billion eyeballs watching the game in real time. That’s not lost on the players.”

“The scale and the scope of it is insane,” he added. “All of that is coming here to Massachusetts and to Boston. It’s going to be tremendous.”

Bilello has played a leading role for Boston throughout the bidding process, which resulted in its selection as one of 16 Host Cities for what will be the largest FIFA World Cup to date with 48 countries. The moment was rewarding for Bilello, who has spent most of his career dedicated to growing the sport’s popularity in the United States, and New England in particular.

“For me, it’s exhilarating…To be a part of this next major step forward for the sport in the United States, it’s super exciting for me,” Bilello added.

“My generation of soccer people have a lot of perspective about where we’ve come from to where we are today, and now, where we believe we can go with the catalyst that is the ’26 World Cup.”

When the FIFA World Cup returns to Boston for the first time since 1994, MLS will be celebrating its 30th anniversary as a league. With multiple professional leagues now in place, including a “thriving” women’s league that is reportedly eyeing expansion to Boston, Bilello knows the possibilities are endless coming out of 2026.

“We’re still in a massive growth trajectory. I truly believe that we can be, truly realistically, the second or third most popular professional sport in the United States. I think that’s a very reasonable thing to happen in my lifetime.

“An event like the ’26 World Cup is one of those step-function moments when we go from where we are today to a whole other level… You see this tremendous opportunity in front of you.”

Visit for more information on Boston’s role as Host City for FIFA World Cup 26.

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