President Trump almost saved us from having to host the World Cup

While I’m generally only vaguely aware of the comings and goings of professional kickball – or soccer, if you prefer – it’s almost impossible to avoid seeing some headlines about the World Cup when it comes around. That was the case when I noticed a headline at the Washington Post under the byline of Ken Bensinger. It read, “If the U.S. doesn’t get the 2026 World Cup, blame Trump.” This immediately caused a couple of questions to leap to my mind.


First… the United States is being considered to host the World Cup?

And second… you mean there’s a way we could get out of this?

Donald Trump has pulled off some amazing things since taking office, such as massively scaling back damaging regulations, shepherding through the tax cuts, appointing a fine new member to the Supreme Court and potentially starting the denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula. But if he could get us off the hook for some massively expensive soccer party that clogs up all the television channels for weeks on end I might just nominate the man for a Nobel prize myself. But how would this work? Bensinger, with visceral Trump hatred dripping from every keystroke, explains.

On Wednesday morning, several hundred representatives of FIFA, the supreme body overseeing global soccer, will be presented with what will surely seem a tempting opportunity for a measure of revenge against the United States — and our swaggering president.

Gathering in a Moscow convention center on the eve of the first match of the 2018 World Cup, they will vote on whether to award the 2026 tournament to Morocco or to a combined bid, shared between Mexico, Canada and the United States…

About the only advantage that Morocco — a nation with a GDP slightly smaller than that of the state of Arizona — seems to have is that it’s on the same time zone as Western Europe, where television viewers would be able to watch World Cup matches in lucrative prime time.

That, and the fact that it’s not the United States.


Sadly, the liberal dream of FIFA “punishing” us for having elected Donald Trump by taking their kickball game elsewhere fell through. Later in the day, the depressing results of the FIFA meeting were released and it looks like the World Cup will be coming here after all. Trump had failed us. (Reuters)

The United States, Mexico and Canada will jointly host the 2026 World Cup, overwhelmingly winning a vote by soccer’s world governing body on Wednesday, even though U.S. President Donald Trump has frayed relations with his neighbors and others during his 18 months in office.

So we’re stuck with the soccer tournament. Canada and Mexico will provide three stadiums each for some of the games, but the United States will have to provide 16. And they’re going to desecrate NFL stadiums to do it, including our stadium in New Jersey where the Jets and Giants play. This is beyond depressing.

I’m at least partly joking about all of this, of course. I don’t begrudge anyone a chance to watch this sport if they enjoy it. I’ll never understand it, though. I’ve made an honest attempt to watch soccer in the past, particularly the last time the United States was in the hunt for the World Cup and everyone was all hyped up about it. I just never “got it.” It’s the same couple of plays over and over again, all involving kicking the ball with your feet or bouncing it off other body parts, seeking to pass it to other players or put it into the net. And the scoring part almost never happens, sometimes leaving them locked in a zero-zero tie until they line up and take some free shots at their goalie. When you compare that to the rich complexity of plays in football, passing, running, the monsters of the midway crashing into other like thunder and making the ground shake… there’s just no comparison.


But hey, congratulations to all you soccer fans. Now you have something to look forward to in 2026. Assuming, of course, that SMOD doesn’t finally arrive before then to save us all.

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Beege Welborn 4:41 PM on September 28, 2023