Baltimore native and WNBA star Angel McCoughtry is leading the charge for Baltimore to be one of the host cities in the United States for the 2026 FIFA World Cup — and she is doing so all the way from the “wubble” in Bradenton, Fla., where WNBA players and coaches are sequestered for the duration of the season.

McCoughtry is the goodwill ambassador for the Baltimore-Maryland 2026 World Cup Host Destination Committee, which recently presented to FIFA officials its bid to host World Cup matches in Baltimore.

“The city has so much to offer. The history of Baltimore [is rich]. We have great sporting events and history with the Orioles and the Ravens,” McCoughtry said on Glenn Clark Radio Aug. 10. “People see that we have a great fan base and we’re very supportive.”

A graduate of St. Frances Academy in Baltimore who later played at Louisville, McCoughtry aims to show people that Baltimore has more to offer than what’s shown in HBO’s gritty hit show, “The Wire.”

She said that people who first think of “The Wire” when Baltimore comes to mind haven’t visited the city. When people do visit it for the first time, McCoughtry says that their opinions always change.

“[They say], ‘Oh, my God, this city is amazing — the people, the crab cakes, the sporting events [are amazing].’ People love Baltimore, and I think bringing the World Cup would just add to [that] sense of enlightenment,” McCoughtry said. “It will bring a lot of tourist attractions of the city and people can have a better view of what Baltimore really is.”

The 2026 World Cup is being co-hosted by United States, Canada and Mexico. In the United States, 10 cities will be selected as host cities in addition to the three cities already chosen in both Canada and Mexico.

The 6-foot-1 McCoughtry is a fan of soccer, even though her trade is basketball. She was inspired to help push for the World Cup to come to Baltimore after she saw the growth that hosting the 1996 Olympics brought to Atlanta.

“If we can get this to Baltimore, it’s going to bring tons of partnerships. … It’s going to open up so many businesses,” McCoughtry said. “Of course, things have been tough with the COVID situation. So, there is no better way to bring our city back up, bring it back to a positive light, get some good real estate and get some good businesses built back up. There is no better way than to have such a big event come to our city.”

While McCoughtry continues to advocate for games in Charm City, she is primarily focused on the WNBA season right now which, like all other professional sports, is being played without fans because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

McCoughtry spent 10 seasons with the Atlanta Dream after being drafted No. 1 overall in 2009 but is now with the Las Vegas Aces. The 33-year-old played on the USA Basketball Women’s National Team that won back-to-back Olympic gold medals in London (2012) and Rio (2016). Now, she says she is just missing a WNBA championship ring, and she plans to get that with the Aces this year.

Each team is playing a 22-game season, and the playoffs begin in September.

“I think I’ve definitely fit into a great situation with the team in the role of a leader with this young group of girls and playing with A’ja Wilson– hey, [I’ll do] anything I can do to help her get the MVP — because I’ve been there and done all those things. I just need a championship,” McCoughtry said.

McCoughtry is off to a good start with the Aces, averaging 15.3 points per game. Las Vegas is 6-2 thus far, and McCoughtry plans to keep that momentum throughout the season, which is being played entirely at IMG Academy in Bradenton.

McCoughtry said that everyone is following the rules, and no one is going out and gallivanting around Bradenton. She said the food is good and there is enough variety to keep her happy, but some of the other women occasionally order on Postmates.

The popular hangout spot is the pool according to McCoughtry, who said that everyone makes the best of their days off by doing things together in the wubble.

“Everybody is at the pool drinking wine [on our days off],” she said. “You have to have some kind of fun and get your mind away. We just get away by going to the pool. It’s like a big summer camp.”

How can you help bring the 2026 World Cup to Baltimore? Click here to sign the petition and be counted among those pledging their support.

For more from McCoughtry, listen to the full interview here:

Photo Credit: Courtesy of the Las Vegas Aces