The 2026 World Cup is set to be a historic event, with an expanded scope and a detailed roadmap for participating teams and host nations. FIFA has recently released the first edition of the online Team Base Camp brochure. Thus, they have provided an initial glimpse into the potential training sites. They have also included the accommodations that will serve as the training camps for the 48 participating teams.

In addition, FIFA has added a more detailed match schedule. This highlights the pathways that host nations Canada, Mexico, and the USA could navigate on their journey to the final.

The first edition of the Team Base Camp brochure features 24 high-grade locations where teams could establish their base. These sites are crucial as they will be the hub from which teams travel to their first three matches. That is also where players, staff, and officials will spend the majority of their time during the group stage.

Expanding World Cup experience

Including cities outside the primary Host Cities as potential Team Base Camps is a strategic move to expand the World Cup’s footprint. These cities, while not hosting matches, will play a vital role in the tournament by housing teams and fostering local engagement.

FIFA has encouraged cities and towns across the three host nations to propose their facilities as possible Team Base Camps. They will reportedly accept expressions of interest and planning updates to the brochure throughout 2024 and 2025.

Over the next 18 months, this list will grow. Thus, additional options across Canada, Mexico, and the USA will likely be added, providing teams with a wide range of choices for their final selection. FIFA will make the final selection following the Final Draw for the World Cup, anticipated to take place in late 2025.

Nine cities outside the 16 official Host Cities have been included as potential Team Base Camp locations: Chattanooga, Cincinnati, Green Bay, Irvine, Louisville, St. Louis, Salt Lake City, San Antonio, and Westfield.

Host USA learns pathways at 2026 World Cup

The detailed match schedule provides a clear picture of the potential pathways to glory for the host nations. For the USMNT, the journey begins with group games scheduled in Los Angeles on June 12, Seattle on June 19, and back in Los Angeles on June 25. Depending on their performance in the Group Stage, the US team’s subsequent matches will vary:

If USMNT finishes first in Group D:

  • Round of 32: Bay Area on July 1
  • Round of 16: Seattle on July 6
  • Quarter-finals: Los Angeles on July 10
  • Semi-finals: Dallas area on July 14

If USMNT finishes second in Group D:

  • Round of 32: Dallas on July 3
  • Round of 16: Atlanta on July 7
  • Quarter-finals: Kansas City on July 11
  • Semi-finals: Atlanta on July 15

The third-place finishers in Group D could face varied paths depending on other group outcomes. This includes potential matches in Philadelphia, Foxborough, Kansas City, or even crossing the border to Vancouver.

For local fans, the news is bittersweet. While Philadelphia will host several key matches, including a round-of-16 game on Independence Day, the chances of the USA playing there are slim. Most of the US team’s potential matches will likely be on the West Coast. This would reduce the likelihood of an East Coast appearance unless they reach the final or third-place game.