‘My work is the people’s work’: Linda Morales appointed to Harris County-Houston Sports Authority ahead of 2026 FIFA World Cup

11 Oct, 23

Growing up in Uvalde, Texas, Linda Morales developed her love of sports playing as a forward for her basketball team. Even though the newspaper consistently misspelled her name, she fondly remembered the excitement around the game and the power of sports to build self-esteem.

After a unanimous vote by Harris County commissioners on Oct. 10, Commissioner Lesley Briones’ appointment to the Harris County-Houston Sports Authority (HCHSA) will bring Moraleslifelong passion for sports and her extensive labor and advocacy background to the 13-member board of directors. Morales’ appointment comes in the run-up to the 2026 FIFA World Cup, when avid soccer fans from across the world will descend on Houston and other host cities.

The HCHSA was established in September 1997 by Commissioners Court and Houston City Council. The 13-member board of directors oversees professional sports venues and promotes the region for major events — including the 2017 Super Bowl LI, the 2023 NCAA Final Four, and the upcoming World Cup.

“I know how important sports are to our community,” Morales said. “The world’s eyes will be on Houston and Harris County, so there’s lots of work to be done.”

Commissioner Briones said she was thrilled to nominate Morales to the HCHSA.

"Linda Morales is a civil rights activist, a labor leader, a proud Latina, and a member of the LGBTQ+ community. She will bring a wonderful perspective in keeping equity front and center, including minority-and-women-owned businesses and workers’ safety, especially as we prepare for the World Cup,” Commissioner Briones said.

In her professional career, Morales has been a proven advocate in the fields of healthcare and labor, as well as Latino and LGBTQ+ rights. Since 2001, Morales has worked in labor organizing, serving on the San Antonio AFL-CIO, Sheet Metal Workers’ International Union, California Nurses Association, and most recently as an organizing coordinator for the Texas Gulf Coast Area Labor Federation/AFL-CIO.

She has also served with organizations such as La Rosa, a center that aids women suffering from domestic violence, the AIDS Equity League, and previously served on the Harris Health System Board of Trustees, including as as Vice President.  

With her extensive experience in communications, politics, labor organizing, as well as a stint working for the Texas Legislature, Morales said she is excited to serve her community on the HCHSA.

“My work is the people’s work ... I think that’s one of the unique perspectives that I bring to the table,” Morales said. [Having] worked in organized labor for 20 some-odd years, I’ve met all kinds of people, and I have an appreciation for diversity and for different cultures. I’ve been in people’s homes where organizing workers had dirt floors and would give me the last soda pop that was in their refrigerator. So, I want to bring [all those life experiences] to the Sports Authority.”

With the World Cup on the horizon, Morales said there is going to be a “huge need for labor,” adding that it will be important to make sure workers are safe, are paid at least $15 an hour or a prevailing wage and have the appropriate OSHA training.

She added that she is passionate about combatting human and labor trafficking and will be working with the anti-human trafficking coalition to get multi-lingual information out in the community to make sure the community is safe.

Morales said she is ready to give her all for the good of the people of Harris County.

“I’m excited for the city and for the County in hosting the World Cup,” Morales said. “There are a lot of people that we need to bring forward, but between leaders with the city, county, Sports Authority, and other communities, we can enjoy the World Cup while it’s here … and put the best show forward.”