World Cup 2026 is Coming to the US

It’s official! The US led bid, with support from Mexico and Canada, will be hosting the World Cup in 2026 after beating out Morocco for hosting duties.

Of the 80 matches played, 60 of them will be in the United States, including every match from the quarterfinals on. They will play all over North America, which I think will be great for American soccer fans because no matter where you live, there will be a game relatively close to you.

Of the 200 votes, the US-Canada-Mexico bid got 134 votes, 65 for Morocco, and 1 vote for “None of the bids”.

Perhaps the best news about this announcement? The US doesn’t have to qualify, because the host gets an automatic bid. Same goes for Mexico and Canada.

While you’re here reading some soccer content, make sure you check out all of the PSF World Cup Group Primers and stay tuned for lots of World Cup content over the next month!

Follow me on twitter @TCalvin_PSF!


World Cup Group H Primer

The World Cup is finally here! Action kicks off in Russia on Thursday, and we here at PSF are giving you all of the previews and World Cup coverage you need! It should be a fun, action packed month of soccer, and I can’t wait for it to get underway. Now, let’s talk about this odd collection of teams known as Group H, starting with the favorite.



This is expected to be the tightest group from top to bottom, and, honestly, anything could happen in it. Colombia has a strong defensive identity and two strong goal scorers up front. They grind out games and try to sneak in a goal or two off the boots of James Rodriguez and Falcao. Their issue is the lack of central midfield depth. Colombia will be a fun team, much like their 2014 quarter final squad, and should be able to make it out of this group alive, if not win it outright.

Odds to win the group: +120

Opening match: Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00 am (central time) against Japan


Robert Lewandowski, Kamil Grosicki

Poland is kind of the 2nd favorite to win the group, and no one would be surprised if they came out ahead of Colombia. Anchored by Robert Lewandowski, they will attack hard and try to score a lot of goals. Sure, they’ll also concede a lot of goals with their old defensive core, but their game plan will be to attack, attack, and attack with Lewandowski, Zielinski, and Milik. Poland is going to be one of the most fun teams to watch in the entire tournament.

Odds to win the group: +180

Opening match: Tuesday, June 19th at 11:00 am (central time) against Senegal



This is only the 2nd ever World Cup appearance for Senegal, with the other being in 2002 where they made it to the quarter finals, and this is maybe the hardest team to figure out. Senegal has a strong attacking front, a weak goalkeeper, and no one really has any idea what to do with them. They have great speed and talent, but they’ve looked better on paper than they’ve actually performed recently. There’s some worry that they won’t be able to put it all together on the pitch. They have some solid creating and goal scoring ability from the likes of Sadio Mane and Keita Balde Diao, and good depth behind them in midfielder Idrissa Gueye and defender Kalidou Koulibaly. We’ll have to wait and see if they can put it together and perform on the big stage.

Odds to win the group: +500

Opening match: Tuesday, June 19th at 11:00 am (central time) against Poland



As a person without a team in the tournament (thanks a lot, Team USA), Japan has my fandom for the World Cup (I’m part Japanese). Unfortunately, Japan hasn’t performed well lately, much like Senegal. They seem to be caught in that awkward stage of having both too many old players and too many young and inexperienced players, and that’s a big reason why they are the least likely team to win the group. Japan has a strong midfield and typically plays a fun style of soccer with lots of ball movement. They’re going to need their midfield to play nearly flawlessly if they want to move on. Led by their captain Makoto Hasebe and fellow midfielders Keisuke Honda and Shinji Kagawa, they’ll rely on pure midfield skill to try and advance to the knockout stage for the first time since 2010.

Odds to win the group: +700

Opening match: Tuesday, June 19th at 7:00 am (central time) against Colombia

This group is truly tough to figure out because all four teams are really, really average. All of them have a pretty big hole that other teams can expose, but you can’t rule out any of them advancing through. If I had to pick, I’d go with the favorites in Colombia and Poland, just because of pure talent. I don’t know that Japan and Senegal have enough all around depth to advance past the group stage.

Make sure you follow me on twitter, @Tcalvin_PSF where I will be live tweeting as many of these games as possible. Also, be sure to check out the rest of our World Cup Group Primer pieces here at!

World Cup Group E Primer

We’ve waited 4 long years to watch team USA compete in the World Cup… and we’re going to have to wait at least 4 more. The tournament we’ve all been waiting for kicks off this Thursday in Russia, but what can we expect from Group E?



Brazil is a legitimate contender to win the whole thing, and they are a runaway favorite to win this group. They have world-renowned stars, and it will be hard for any other team in the group to take that top spot from them, barring a horrific injury or a flat-out choke job. Led by guys like Neymar, Marcelo, Coutinho, and Gabriel Jesus, this group is theirs for the taking.

Odds to win the group: -450

Opening Match: Sunday, June 17th at 1:00 pm (central time) against Brazil.



This Swiss side is an interesting team, and my dark horse pick to contend in this year’s World Cup. They made it out of the group stage in 2014, and I think it’s likely they do it again this year. They have a ball dominant midfielder in Xherdan Shaqiri, and a very good creator in Arsenal’s Granit Xhaka; and those two should carry the load for this Switzerland team, and ultimately carry them on to the knockout stage.

Odds to win the group: +700

Opening match: Sunday, June 17th at 1:00 pm (central time) against Brazil



Serbia has looked good recently, topping their group in UEFA qualifying and making it to the World Cup for the first time since 2010. They have an incredible talented midfield, but the issue is no one knows how they’re going to play. On paper, they stack up well with the mid-tier teams in the tournament and should fight for a spot in the knockout stage. However, after their previous manager refused to call up their young star Sergei Milinkovic-Savic and was fired after qualifying for the World Cup. Milinkovic-Savic has never played with his midfield mates, and so we don’t really know how well they will gel together on the field. Their players to watch are the aformentioned Segei Milinkovic-Savic, Nemanja Matic, and Dusan Tadic, all of whom are midfielders who’ve never played together. Oh, and the manager, Mladen Krstajic has yet to decide on a midfield structure. We are 2 days away from the first games, people.

Odds to win the group: +800

Opening match: Sunday, June 17th at 7:00 am (central time) against Costa Rica

Costa Rica

costa rica

So, let’s talk about 2014 for a minute. Costa Rica was expected to finish dead last in their group (as they are this year), and instead they WON the group and ended up making it to the quarter finals where they lost to the Netherlands in a shoot out. Now, I’d be very surprised to see them make another run like this in 2018, but you can’t just count them out, despite what the odds say. Midfielder Bryan Ruiz and goalkeeper Keylor Navas are the leaders of this squad, and the team will only go as far as those two take them. They’re bringing a ton of the same players that played in the 2014 World Cup, in fact, they have the littlest turnover of any team in the tourney. 9 of 11 players that started their last WC match could start in the opener. That’s insane. But, that’s also part of their problem. They are an old team, they have very little attacking talent, and they rely heavily on their defense. I just don’t see them repeating their Cinderella run.

Odds to win the group: +2000

Opening match: Sunday, June 17th at 7:00 am (central time) against Serbia

Make sure you follow me on twitter, @Tcalvin_PSF where I will be live tweeting as many of these games as possible. Also, be sure to check out the rest of our World Cup Group Primer pieces here at!

Ohtani is Still Really Good at Baseball

It’s only June 6th and I think people are already over it, but — Shohei Ohtani is very good at baseball. I just wanted to remind people of that. He was the most talked about player in recent memory for the first 2 weeks of the season, but the buzz has since died down, which is wild when you think about what he’s doing. He has incredibly effective as both a hitter and a pitcher so far this season, which is nearly unheard of.


Ohtani is a 23 year old rookie, who doesn’t speak English, and he is currently tearing up batters while pitching and pitchers while batting. At the plate, Ohtani is slashing .289/.372/.535, 7 bombs, 20 RBI, worth .9 WAR (just offensively), and has a wRC+ of 149 which ranks 17th best in all of baseball. On the mound, however, he’s been struggling… no, wait, he’s also killing it there. In 8 starts, 45.1 innings pitched, Ohtani has a 3.18 ERA, is striking out 11.32 batters per 9 innings, and has been worth 1 WAR on the mound. His total 1.9 WAR is good for top 20 in all of baseball. Again, he’s a ROOKIE.

The guy is so much fun to watch. I tune in to every one of his starts and check out as many at bats as I can. He’s got such a sweet, smooth swing, and it’s impossible to not love that million dollar smile of his. Ohtani is filthy on the mound, legitimately has one of the best splitters I’ve ever seen, and when he’s on, there are few pitchers with better stuff. Ohtani is absolutely electric, but I feel like our world and lack of attention span have already forgotten about him. When you combine him with Mike Trout, the best player in the world who is literally on pace to have the best season of all time, almost every Angels game is must-watch TV.


If you are reading this within a half hour of it’s posting, you can watch Ohtani make his start tonight against the Royals. If not, your loss. This has been your friendly reminder that Shohei Ohtani is a freak and is still very good at baseball.

Make sure to follow me on twitter @Tcalvin_PSF and check out The Grand Slam podcast!

Big MLB Stories From the First Two Weeks

Baseball is here, and it is glorious. The season is now two weeks old, and a lot has happened; the White Sox had a game where less than a thousand people showed up, the Dodgers are bad, the Mets are apparently going to win 125 games, and the Marlins had more fans show up to a AA game than an MLB game. So, let’s take a look at some of the funnest, strangest, and best story lines of the season thus far.


Shohei Ohtani is the best player in the history of the world.

shohei ohtani

Okay, this might be a bit of an overshoot, but not by much. The 23-year old 2-way Japanese phenom has been, well, phenomenal. He has looked like an ace on the mound and a top-tier DH when he’s in the lineup, and he has certainly shut his critics up (looking at you, Jeff Passan). Ohtani has already hit 3 bombs, is currently slashing .364/.417/.773 with a WRC+ of 168 (this was before Thursday’s game against the Royals where he had a bases-clearing triple). On top of that, he has a 2.08 ERA in 2 starts with 18 strikeouts and just 1 walk, including a start where he took a perfect game into the 7th. I think it’s safe to say he’s holding his own against major league competition. He is the star the MLB needs. It seems like everyone is tuning in to watch him.


MLB Fights: The good, the bad, and the Yadi.


There have already been 3 pretty serious altercations that resulted in suspensions for multiple players/a manager. The first came in a game between the Cardinals and the D-backs. Arizona manager, Torey Lovullo, was unhappy with a call and, I guess, Yadier Molina’s pitch framing. He proceeds to call Yadi a “motherfucker” twice right in front of him. After the 2nd, Yadi gets up to fight him and they have to be separated by the ump, whom Molina shoves (resulting in a 1 game suspension). To be honest, I can’t really blame Yadi for this one. Call me a motherfucker once, I’ll let it slide. Call me a motherfucker twice, I’m coming at your throat. This Cubs fan has to side with Molina.

Then, we had bench-clearing brawls between the Padres and Rockies, and the Red Sox and Yankees on the same day. You can check those out below. As of now, no suspension has been handed down for the Padres-Rockies altercation. Tyler Austin of the Yankees received a 5 game suspension, and Joe Kelly of the Red Sox received a 6 game suspension for their parts in the fight.


Bryce Harper continues to do Bryce Harper-y things.

bryce harper

Other than his ability to absolutely mash baseballs, which has been on full display so far this season, there are 3 things here that have been pretty fantastic involving Harper. First, while playing the Reds in Cinci, Harper is up to bat and as the pitch is being delivered, you can hear a fan yell “OVERRATED” at Harper. What does he do, you ask? He proceeds to hit said pitch about 450 feet. Just incredible timing. The 2nd thing is from their series in Atlanta. As most people know, it’s been widely rumored that Harper will be joining long-time friend Kris Bryant in Chicago this offseason, and the Braves’ organist had some fun with that. During the game, they would play a random song, somehow making fun of each player, and when Harper stepped to the plate, he heard “Go Cubs Go” ringing out from the loud speakers. I guess he should get used to hearing that. Lastly, we have the video that popped up on his twitter this week of him using not 1, but 2 hair dryers. I guess you gotta do what you gotta do if you want to have a head of hair like that.


Unwritten rules should be written down.

unwritten rules

I just want to take a second to tell Brian Dozier he can GTFO. To set the scene, it’s the 9th inning of a 7-0 game, the Orioles are getting 1-hit and rookie Chance Sisco steps to the plate. The Twins put on a big shift, so instead of trying to hit the ball oppo, Sisco drops down a bunt for a single. Nothing wrong with that, unless you’re Brian Dozier. After the game, he launched into a ridiculous rant saying that’s not how you play the game and there are unwritten rules against that. I guess they should be written down. Also, it’s not like it was a no-hitter(for the record, I still wouldn’t have had a problem with bunting to beat the shift in a no-no). There is absolutely nothing wrong with what Sisco did, and Brian Dozier can fuck off. Just absurd to be upset about a guy bunting to beat the shift.


James Paxton is now an American.


On April 5th, the Twins decided to put on a show for the National Anthem and released a Bald Eagle to fly majestically over the field. Unfortunately for Mariners pitcher James Paxton, it decided to land on his shoulder instead of the trainer. Now, Paxton remained calm and wasn’t injured during it, but imagine if something had happened? Good lord the Twins would never stop hearing about it. The best part is that the bird happened to land on the only Canadian player on the Mariners. James Paxton is now officially an American. In fact, he is arguable more American than any of us.


Thanks for reading! Be sure to follow me on twitter @ChiCubsCoverage, and check out my podcast, The Grand Slam, available on iTunes, Stitcher, and most major podcast apps.

5 Bold MLS Predictions

After an offseason that seemed to fly by, the MLS regular season kicks off this weekend. Last year was fantastic: you had Toronto setting the MLS points record, Atlanta having an incredible year in their 1st season, finishing 3rd in the Supporters’ Shield standings, and Seattle made it to a 2nd consecutive MLS Cup final, only to lose to a nearly unstoppable Toronto team. But what does 2018 have in store for us?

Real Salt Lake wins the West


Last season RSL missed the playoffs by 1 point, and to make it even worse, it came on the last day of the season as the Quakes pulled off a 3-2 win against Minnesota United, it was only the 2nd time they missed the playoffs in club history. This team may have some questions at striker, but they have a ton of wing talent and a good defense. The West this year looks like it may be a bit of a crap shoot, so my pick is for RSL to be consistent all season and take the top spot heading into the playoffs.

Atlanta United wins the Supporters’ Shield


Atlanta finished 3rd in the race for the Supports’ Shield in 2017, despite it being their 1st season in the league. They already have a massive fan base, and my guess is their popularity will only continue to grow, especially if they keep winning. They were a big surprise last year, but the young squad just seemed to run out of gas in the playoffs. I think they will have learned and grown from that experience, and they’ll come back even stronger this year. Plus, Toronto may be a bit worn down after their unbelievable play last year, which could help Atlanta out. Side note: Josef Martinez is my pick to win the Golden Boot.

Sporting Kansas City wins another US Open Cup


As an SKC fan, this is a frustrating one for me to pick. Sure, it’s great to win a trophy, but you’d like to win a better one than the US Open Cup, which SKC seems to dominate for some reason. In 3 of the last 6 years (2012, 2015, and 2017), Sporting has come away with this trophy, but you’d like to see better appearances in the MLS Cup (won it in 2013, but haven’t made it out of the knockout stage since) or the CONCACAF. This team should be good, even with losing Dom Dwyer last summer and Benny Feilhaber this winter, and I expect the playoff streak to stretch to 8 years, but I think the US Open Cup is the only piece of hardware that has a chance of coming home to Kansas City.

New England Revolution win the… Wooden Spoon


For those of you that are unaware, the wooden spoon “award” goes to the team that finishes last in points. Last season it went to DC United, who is much improved this year, probably even a playoff team, and the Revs finished 7 points ahead of them. The problem is New England didn’t improve. At all. Which is a huge problem in the MLS because it seems that most teams tend to take a step forward each year. They should be able to score some goals, but that won’t matter because of how god awful their defense will be. I don’t think this team stands a chance of stopping anyone. The only team that I think can give them a run for their money for the wooden spoon is LAFC, which is an expansion team.

Finally, the MLS Cup winner will be…

The LA Galaxy

la galaxy

This may seem odd to those of you who follow the MLS closely, given that LA finished dead last in the West last year and tied for last in points with DC, but this team is good. They reloaded and look ready to go for 2018, and as I previously mentioned, the West is going to be a tight race. I think LA is going to have the talent to emerge from the West victorious in the playoffs and take down Atlanta in the MLS Cup finals. There are rumors that they will sign European star forward Zlatan Ibrahimovic, which would be an incredible add. I think Ola Kamara has a great season and leads this team to their 6th MLS Cup title.

BONUS: Extra Hot Take

 The Seattle Sounders will miss the playoffs


The last 2 years, the Sounders have struggled out of the gate, only to find their groove mid-season and make it to the finals (and win an MLS Cup), and they will start slow again this year, only they won’t recover. Dempsey is old and has a lot of mileage on his legs, Jordan Morris was supposed to be the breakout star, and they didn’t do anything to improve this offseason. For the first time in club history, the Seattle Sounders will miss the playoffs.

Please give me a follow on twitter @TCalvin_PSF, where I will live-tweeting some matches this season!

Grand Slam Podcast: MLB Over/Unders

On this episode of The Grand Slam, we talk about the Russell Wilson trade, the upcoming MLB free agent spring training, and give our team wins over/under picks!



Who’s to Blame for the Slow MLB Off-season?

It’s February, and we’re still waiting on the MLB Free-Agent market to heat up. There has been plenty of finger pointing, but who is really to blame? The players? The owners? The awesome NBA season? There is a lot of blame to go around, hell, there is even talk about a strike.

A lot of people seem to think there is some sort of collusion in play on the part of the owners and general managers. And while, to some degree, this is probably true, it certainly isn’t the biggest thing holding up the market. I don’t think it’s realistic to say the owners all got on a big conference call and decided not to overpay free agents this off-season. In reality, with the emergence of advanced statistics and the ability to more accurately predict future performance, owners just have a better understanding of what players are worth. Take Yu Darvish, for instance (we will be talking about him more in a minute). There is still a massive disparity between what he thinks he’s worth and what teams think he’s worth. It was reported this week that Darvish has been offered multiple contracts in the 5 year/$100-$125 million range. However, he wants a 7 year/$175 million contract. That is a gigantic gap, and there is no chance Darvish will live up to that contract. He’s a 32 year old starting pitcher who has had Tommy John surgery and has a bit of an injury history. If we’re being honest, a 5 year deal makes me nervous.

scott boras

It is thinking like this, and well known (and hated) agent Scott Boras that is likely making the biggest impact on the market. There hasn’t been a top tier free agent sign, excluding Lorenzo Cain, and the agents are playing a big role in it. You have top tier pitchers in Darvish, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, and even Alex Cobb still sitting out there. You have very good hitters in J.D. Martinez, Eric Hosmer, and Mike Moustakas waiting to get signed. There will be a record number of free-agent signings in February and March, a trend that has been growing in the past few seasons, and a large part of it is greed. I get wanting to get the most money you can, but at this point, Boras, and agents like him, are causing problems for teams and players alike. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least to see Boras lose a few big name clients.

Another aspect to look at, that might be causing the slow market– it’s a weak free agent class. J.D. Martinez is a great bat, but he is by far the best one on the market. Darvish and Arrieta have been great in the past, but they are aging arms asking for a ton of money. Next season will be one of the best free agent classes in recent memory. You will have some of the best bats and arms in the game hit the market, and a lot of teams are likely saving up some of their money for that class. It’s been well documented that the Yankees and Dodgers, two of the league’s most notorious spenders, are taking a step back this off-season to get under the Luxury Tax threshold, so that way they will be loaded and ready to spend next winter. When the heavy hitters are out of the market, it’s sure to slow everything down. This class being a little weaker than the traditional FA class is likely causing a bigger impact than people think.

I will never take the owners side. I tend to be against billionaires just as a principle, so I want to go on record saying I definitely think there is some level of collusion going on. There is strife between the league and the player’s union, which I hope can be fixed soon. Some of which has been caused by the recent announcement of a pitch clock potentially being used in 2019 (which I’m in favor of) and trying out a new rule which would automatically place a runner on 2nd base in extra innings (which I find utterly ridiculous), and a lot of players are unhappy with these developments, which they have been very vocal about. There are definitely some things going on which are reminiscent of the ’94 strike.


The last thing I want to point out that I think is holding up the market is Yu Darvish. He is the top free agent pitcher, and it seems like everyone is waiting on him to sign to get a gauge of where they should set their price at. The problem? He seems to be waiting on the Dodgers to make him an offer, which doesn’t seem likely. It was reported earlier this week that he is waiting on them to clear some space in their salary to sign him, and they are his top option, but it seems that the Dodgers just flat out are not interested in spending the $100+ million it would take to bring him back. I think once he finally signs, the rest of the free agents will start to fall in place.

I’m sure that since I’ve finally decided to take the time to write this (it’s probably the 10,000 piece like this written this off-season), Yu Darvish will sign by the end of the weekend setting off a chain of events that heat up the freezing cold stove. So to summarize my messy thoughts (apologies for that), the players, agents, and owners are all to blame. There is plenty of blame to go around. Sure, there is probably some collusion, but I also don’t think that’s any different than any other off-season in MLB history.

Please give me a follow on twitter at @ChiCubsCoverage and @TCalvin_PSF!

Gerrit Cole is on the Move

After being featured in trade rumors all off-season, it appears Pirates ace Gerrit Cole is now on the move to Houston. That’s right, the defending World Series champs just got even better. As of now, we don’t know who the Astros are sending back to Pittsburgh, but I would assume it will be prospects rather than Major League talent. I would also assume there would be some corresponding moves on the Pirates’ end to sell off Andrew McCutchen and Josh Harrison, possibly more.


Cole is 27 years old, and, make no mistake, he is an ace. He had a bit of a down year in 2018 with the struggling Pirates, where he put up an ERA of 4.26, but he was able to keep is ERA- at a league average 100 and his FIP- at 96. Cole is a strong strikeout pitcher, ranked 23rd in baseball in K% in 2017, and he also gets a ton of ground balls, ranking 28th in the league. At just 27, after 2 relatively down years, I think a change of scenery will be perfect for him.

Gerrit Cole has been very good in his short career, racking up WARs of 2.5, 2.3, 5.5, 2.5, and 3.1, and he will be joining an already fantastic pitching staff that includes top-tier arms in Dallas Keuchel and Justin Verlander. I can’t help but think this move was made as a way of thinking ahead to try to stop the Yankee’s ridiculously powerful lineup come October.

The Astros will have to give up a decent amount in return, but for a team coming off a title that is clearly in win now mode, prospects don’t really mean much. This gives Houston 2 years of another top-tier pitcher, and I think it just made them the favorites to repeat as World Series Champions. Huge move for the Astros. Maybe the hot stove is finally heating up.

LaVar Ball’s Big Move

I used to hate LaVar, but then I saw the light. The man is a genius. He is an incredible marketer, has good business sense, and clearly knows how to get people to talk about him. All three of those things will make a huge impact on his newest business venture, the JBA, or Junior Basketball Association. And, of course he used Lonzo as his logo.


For those of you who haven’t seen, the Big Baller is starting up a basketball league to compete with the NCAA. This comes after withdrawing his middle-child, LiAngelo, from UCLA, his youngest son, LaMelo, from high school, and shipping them over-seas to play professionally in Lithuania. The key part of the JBA, and where the draw would be for potential players, is that these players will get paid.

The league is an alternative to using your year post-high school in the NCAA playing for free, and it will pay players up to $10,000 per month. The thing is, it just might work. The biggest qualm people have with collegiate athletics is that they don’t pay the players. The players make their schools millions of dollars, and they don’t see a dime of it. Sure, there’s the argument that they get “paid” in scholarship money, which pays for school, housing, and some food, but does that really count? These players are not only working day and night for their schools, but they are also risking injury, which could result is a major loss of future income, to play in college since the NBA doesn’t allow players to forego college and head straight for the draft.

If this works, I feel like you will start to see a large portion of the “one and done” players head to the JBA instead of college for a year. They can make some money, still get exposure, and don’t have all of these NCAA rules and regulations to follow to stay out of trouble with the big and bad NCAA. Once it gets established, I don’t see why any top recruit would play for free at the college level.

The plan, as laid out by LaVar, is to officially start the league up in July of 2018. The season will run about 8 months, and get the players ready for the draft. Currently, all funding appears to be coming directly from the Big Baller Brand, but I certainly wouldn’t be surprised to see sponsors flooding in to get in on this start-up. It also provides an opening for larger shoe/apparel brands like Nike, Adidas, and Under Armor to come in and sign these young potential-stars to endorsement contracts a year early. Honestly, this league is a win for pretty much everyone except the NCAA. I know I’ll be tuning in.

Thanks for reading, and please give me a follow on twitter @TCalvinNBA!