De La Hoya joins bid team

Updated: March 5, 2010, 1:18 AM ET
By Dan Rafael | ESPN.com

Oscar De La Hoya, the retired former 10-time titleholder in six weight classes, will always be linked to boxing. But he also has ties to soccer as part-owner of Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo.

Now, he's joined the effort to bring the FIFA World Cup to the United States in 2018 or 2022, accepting an invitation to join the board of directors for the USA Bid Committee in its effort to land soccer's biggest tournament.

"Oscar is a passionate soccer fan who is contributing to the growth of the sport in this country with his involvement in MLS and the Dynamo. We are thrilled to have him as part of the USA Bid, as we continue to make our case," Sunil Gulati, chairman of the USA Bid Committee and president of U.S. Soccer, said in a statement.

Said De La Hoya, "Boxing provided me the opportunity to travel the world and through those travels I can attest to the worldwide popularity of football and its power to be a positive force for social change. Being able to join the USA Bid Committee in our mission to bring the World Cup back to the U.S. is an honor."

De La Hoya joins a board that includes numerous heavy hitters, including ESPN executive vice president John Skipper, Walt Disney Company president and CEO Robert Iger, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former U.S. Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, director Spike Lee, the New England Revolution, New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft and Team USA members Landon Donovan and Mia Hamm.

Nations must finalize their bid applications by May 14. FIFA's 24-member executive committee will review the bid, visit potential sites and announce the hosts for the 2018 and 2022 tournaments on Dec. 2, ending a 21-month bid and review process.

Dan Rafael covers boxing for ESPN.com.