North American Television Coverage of International Soccer

June 5th 2002 should be remembered as a milestone for American soccer. During the opening round of the World Cup in Korea/Japan, an unfavored USA took on the Portuguese ‘Golden Generation’ featuring Luis Figo, Manuel Rui Costa, and Pedro Pauleta, and stunned them with three goals in the first half to which Portugal could only answer twice. As the full-time whistle blew for 3-2, it seemed that America could confidently take on the best European football had to offer.

Yet if you ask most Americans about this victory, even some seasoned footy fans, they will likely shrug at you in indifference. The reason might have something to do with ESPN’s coverage of the 2002 World Cup.

ESPN Drops the Ball

As many football purists are loathe to admit, the popular perception of a soccer match is often shaped by its representation on television. While 60,000 fans look on in the stadium, many millions more are at the mercy of two voices naming names from an isolated box hovering over the pitch, while camera crews provide intimately detailed angles of the on-field action revealing what live onlookers can only imagine. We might naively believe that the football beamed in to our homes is unsullied by its mode of presentation on TV, but to paraphrase fellow Canadian Marshall McCluhan “the medium is the football.”

USA 3, Portugal 2 should be proudly remembered in America, but instead, ESPN’s inept, uninformed and jingoistic coverage of the event alienated seasoned soccer fans even as it confused newcomers to the game. Ice hockey references were unnaturally grafted onto the action by Jack Edwards, current play-by-play announcer for the Boston Bruins, who shouted, “he shoots, SCORES!” when O’Brien knocked in the opening goal. By the time Brian McBride bagged USA’s third, Edwards, with no hint of irony, remarked in full voice, “Mine eyes have seen the glory!”

This unnatural, flag-waving attempt to Americanize a game that already had a distinct national history (including a healthy, St. Louis-based league interest prior to 1930 and the Miracle on Grass in 1950) did nothing to preserve its autonomy or capture its unique American flavor. Viewers new to soccer were left with the image of a very slow hockey game played on a big grass rink, while Edward’s unrelenting patriotic exhortations underlined that the match was worth watching only to witness the USA beat the rest of the world at their own game.

Certainly the political climate, one year after 9/11 and in the midst of the early build-up to the second Iraq war, may have played a role in EPSN’s patriotic approach. America was on the path to increasing isolation from her international neighbours; a bit of jingoism at the world’s most followed sporting tournament was in keeping in the spirit of the moment, even as it countered ESPN’s stated goal to popularize the game itself.

ESPN camera

Getting it Right

Flash-forward six years to ESPN’s coverage of Euro 2008. Instead of Jack Edwards, we had two seasoned British commentators, Adrian Healey and Derek Rae, in addition to colour commentator Andy Gray, a voice familiar to viewers of Sky Sports. ESPN also offered live, uninterrupted coverage of every game from start to finish. No ads for Ford suddenly covering half the screen during the attacking build-up play, no giant banners appearing from nowhere to advertise some horrific sitcom to air later that night, no tape delay, and no presenter trying to serve as interpreter for an audience presumed not to know or care about the sport.

Many have remarked on the significance of this change from previous years, singling out ESPN’s radical decision to dedicate daily, live coverage to an all-European tournament. The Globe and Mail’s John Doyle called it nothing less than ‘revolutionary,’ and Robert Weintraub’s excellent summary forcefully concluded that ESPN’s coverage will be the first step in “…clearing out the morons who feel it necessary to rip what they don’t understand by exposing them to what is great about the sport.” But could network television coverage alone be enough to move the sport from the perceived left-wing elitist fringe and into the American mainstream? The answer might lie just north of the border.

Back in April 2007, much ballyhoo was made by liberal media outlets of Toronto FC’s perceived popularity among the city’s many first and second-generation immigrants. While this had a nice ring to it in Toronto’s multicultural capital, it had no basis in fact. In truth, the twenty and thirty-somethings that filled the stands at BMO Field had been brought up on a local diet of live English, Italian, German and Spanish league football available on Canadian basic cable via European feeds. Stations like Sportsnet, TSN and Telelatino broadcast live matches every Saturday and Sunday in the days before the Sports Channel Packages would force the viewer to make a conscious decision to add soccer to his or her dial. Additionally, no attempt was made to ‘package’ the games for a North American audience; it was understood the matchers were being watched by old-Europe ex-pats longing for a taste of ‘back home.’ Little did they know, younger viewers were busy discovering the unadorned European game for themselves.

If ESPN 1 were to pick up more regular European and South American league matches to show live on weekends, available without commercial interruption and presented by knowledgeable veterans of the game in the same vein as their coverage of Euro 2008, it might do more for the game in America than the NASL, the MLS, and the USA’s success in the next World Cup ever could. Attendances at Major League Soccer games might grow once idle channel flippers new to the game get a taste of the spectacle of club football on mainstream American television (ignoring for now its many flaws, commercial or otherwise).

Or not. We’ve heard this talk before, and it’s possible the spectre of the ‘American exception’ may always hang over the global game, but Americans already in love with soccer should at least thank John Skipper’s ESPN for finally giving it the television coverage it deserves.

48 thoughts on “North American Television Coverage of International Soccer

  1. Pingback: Andy Gray versus Jack Edwards « The Five Billion Person Party

  2. Pattrick

    This is an interesting view. Props to espn for covering the Euros i think that was the first step towards them purchasing the rights to epl or la liga games in the future.

  3. Timoteo

    I agree that the ESPN coverage of Euro 08 was good. However, I think you are missing another vital ingrediant for successful soccer coverage: passion. When I listen to MLS games, I want to go to sleep. The announcers are all monotone, barely changing their tone for a goal. They build no sense of exitement. In the name of professional non-partisan journalismThey make the game seem boring. Contrast that with the Fox Sports Espanol announcers of the Copa Libertadores, who make the game exciting just by listening to how they passionately describe it. American soccer announcers could learn a lot by their latin counterparts (or from Ray Hudson on Gol).

  4. Bulk VanDerHuge

    Timoteo: interesting take, but I can’t agree about Ray Hudson. People tend to either love his style or loathe it, and I am quite firmly in the latter category. He needs to relax, chew on a Valium, and enjoy the match. I watch Max Bretos call MSL on FSN from time to time and I think his style is quite good – excited and passionate, but not overboard.

    As for broadcasting and Jack Edwards, I think the worst thing to happen to American sports broadcasting was Al Michaels, who had never called hockey before the 1980 Olympics, coming up with the line of a lifetime against the Soviets. Since then, far too many American play by play announcers have tried to emulate him, whether or not they actually have the capacity to turn a phrase. Too many of them don’t.

    I get FSN, GolTV and Setanta on my dish so my weekends are a cornucopia of the beautiful game. And, contrary to Richard’s assertion above, there is absolutely nothing left-wing about me. I love watching Colombia, Uruguay and whoever plays at night on GolTV because the passion appeals to me. Yet I don’t know that ESPN carrying these matches would help grow the game in the States (though a Superclasico or two might!)

    Part of the appeal of the Champions League to ESPN is that many people here know who the big European clubs are and are willing to watch them. I don’t think that is necessarily true in Latin America and South America – yet. When it is – and perhaps someday soon it will be – by all means, let’s watch more football.

  5. Bulk VanDerHuge

    FSN should of course be FSC. I get my Fox Sportses confused from time to time. :D

  6. fredorrarci

    Is it such a bad thing for an announcer of an international game to be a tad biased if his own country is involved? I don’t know about ESPN’s 2002 coverage beyond what you present here but from where I’m sitting, “mine eyes have seen the glory” seems a not unreasonable reaction to such an important and unlikely event as that game. The commentator should be a bit more excited when his country scores, and should have a tinge of disappointment if they concede, as long as it’s not completely over the top. It wouldn’t be right if it were called like a regular league game.

    Then again, given that Edwards is an ice hockey man, perhaps acting on instructions from on high at ESPN, it seems a bit insincere – and as I say, I don’t know about his general tenor or that of the coverage as a whole.

    This is somewhat tangential to the piece, but I know that when I’m watching a sport of which I have a passing or non-existent knowledge, I like to be thrown in the deep end. I like listening to the commentators talk about what they are seeing in the language of the sport. Like when learning a real language, you may only understand a small fraction of what they’re saying at first, but you gradually pick up more as you immerse yourself further. Surely the US networks are too concerned about alienating non-soccer fans; perhaps they should give their audience more credit and trust that enough of them will have the intelligence to both be sufficiently intrigued about the sport to at least generate the curiosity to stick with it for a while, and not be overwhelmed by presentaion that declines to pander to the lowest common denominator.

  7. fredorrarci

    Though of course, if this piece and the other positive reviews of ESPN’s Euro 2008 coverage are anything to go by, perhaps that’s starting to happen.

  8. Richard Whittall

    Hey Fred, that last paragraph wasn’t tangential at all — the idea usually is if you present the sport unadorned without fearing the LCD is going to start flipping to watch UFC or something, you can slowly but surely build an audience, much as what happened in my neck of the woods. I think we all agree here that there is nothing innately ‘American’ that will prevent an unexposed audience from appreciating the game, but you have to put it on ESPN1 at least or no one will bother.

  9. Micah

    I did not watch USA v Portugal during the ’02 World Cup so I have no insights or feelings about the commentary offered by Jack Edwards. But I would not be the least offended by “he shoots, SCORES!” The players do infact take shots on goal and sometimes they even score. At times I think people get to picky when it comes to the “Americanization” of soccer. The commentators here in the States don’t have to emulate those around the globe 100% of the time.

  10. Matt

    I agree that the ESPN coverage of Euro 2008 was an exciting upgrade from the embarrassment that was its coverage of last World Cup. The British commentators are simply more experienced at commentating a football game than their American cousins. ESPN has tried too hard in the past to (no offense) ‘dumb down’ its coverage in order to appeal to Americans. This usually just results in a worse final product for everyone involved.

    Lastly, and I think this is important, I believe it is massively disappointing that the British commentators of Euro 2008 were not actually at the games in Austria/Switzerland. They were sitting in a studio here in the US, watching on a TV screen. The commentating was undoubtedly top notch (relative to what we have been used to with ESPN), but how much better could it have been if Andy Gray et al were sitting inside the stadiums for the games they were watching? I’m guessing it was a case of problematic logistics or something, I don’t know.

    My conclusion is ESPN are definitely moving in the right direction and should be congratulated. Now if they could get the same caliber of British commentators to work the MLS games, we’d be getting somewhere. I can’t watch MLS games on TV because of this..

  11. Inca

    A nice piece Richard, but I’m wary of emphasizing the nationality of the announcers. I think too often Americans assume when it comes to soccer “British” (English, they usually mean) means better. Matt’s last paragraph (comment #10) I think represents this.

    I paid for the full PPV package from Setanta for Euro 2004, which took the BBC and ITV broadcasts. I was not blown away by the commentary on the BBC (“this is the fabled John Motson?” I remember thinking), and the less said of ITV, the better.

    There are decent American broadcasters–I’m a big fan of Julie Foudy’s contributions, and I wish they would put her in the booth, but I suspect sexism will keep her out.

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  13. joejoejoe

    I enjoyed the international camera feed and ESPN’s minimal graphics package during Euro ’08. The ESPN MLS coverage makes me seesick with all the jumpy camera cuts and closeups that prevent you from know what is going on on the field. And the MLS graphics package is horrid, a giant parallelogram that chops the heads off running players, prevents you from seeing balls in the air, and makes what are usually beautiful pictures of a green field and nice stadium into a claustrophic mess.

    I’m going to withhold judgement on ESPN’s newfound understanding of the game until ESPN USA gets full control of the broadcast of an important tournament. My guess is they will still botch it with excessive graphics and crap camerawork.

  14. Evan

    @ Kevin: I don’t see that happening–all of the Fall on ESPN is college football on Saturday mornings when the games would be on. They get far more commercial revenue from that, even the minor games on ESPN2, than they would from a Premier League game.

  15. Alejandro Ruiz

    “dditionally, no attempt was made to ‘package’ the games for a North American audience; it was understood the matchers were being watched by old-Europe ex-pats longing for a taste of ‘back home.’ Little did they know, younger viewers were busy discovering the unadorned European game for themselves…If ESPN 1 were to pick up more regular European and South American league matches to show live on weekends, available without commercial interruption and presented by knowledgeable veterans of the game in the same vein as their coverage of Euro 2008, ”

    Ummmm….you mean like Telefutura/Telemundo/Univision shown in every large/mid-sized city with latino population.

    Those stations are how I followed the last two world cups, so I guess I missed the jingoistic aspect of the US run that year. Their lack of knowledge of the game is more insulting..I could care less about the rest. Which is why I prefer the spanish stations.
    They show more than just Mexican league matches, I’ve seen a Argentinian first division this year, River Plate vs Argentina Juniors.

    But it seems that non-Latino Americans are shamelessly Eurocentric when it comes to the sport. I guess being in a different language doesn’t help, but it is there…on free tv. In fact, Superliga will be on all this month on Telefutura. They drew the highest ratings for games involving MLS teams…it’s only a shame we wont see Blanco leading the Fire against Chivas CD…I can only imagine what the ratings would be for that.

  16. David H.

    Please send Andy Gray back to the UK. An accent does not a good commentator make. His obvious biases against the Italians & Germans were insulting to an intelligent audience. He acts like the phenomenon of diving & faking injuries & wasting time arrived in the game just last month. He spent the entire Italy v. Spain game complaining. I can’t imagine any viewers enjoyed that, no matter their allegiance.

    I watched most of the games on Canadian TV which used the international english audio feed. This meant one decently informed & intelligent man from the UK calling the game. Nothing stellar, plenty of mispronounced names but jesus christ monkeyballs it was several orders of magnitude better than Shouty McScot who has obviously developed the typical American fear of even one second of silence.

    I could almost put up with the man if he’d just shut the F up once in a while instead of talking nonstop. I hope to never hear him again on ESPN but am afraid this Sky reject is ours for the foreseeable future.

  17. papa bear

    @Micah on July 10th, 2008 at 7:57 am:
    Amen on people getting too sensitive to ‘Americanisms’ slipping into commentary.

    Who cares? Should American announcers start saying ‘bloody hell’ and ’tish tosh’ to sound more Brit? Please. If an announcer wants to call it a ‘field’ rather than a ‘pitch’ the world won’t implode. I know it doesn’t when the European basketball leagues play in single tables or call the schedule the ‘fixtures list’ or at least it hasn’t yet.
    Should all of Latin America get rid of the Clausura/Apertura set up as well since it’s not ‘English’ please.

    Also, regarding the ‘jingoism’ I realize you are Canadian Richard and haven’t seen your team in a World Cup since Reagan was still alive and people thought neon green clothes and using 3 cans of Aqua Net every morning was a good idea, but having seen world cups on TV in a few other nations that were involved; I assure you they are as jingoistic and nationalistic as the 2002 announce team was. I mean, Jesus Christ, jingoism and nationalism are what international soccer thrives on. Look no further than the banners at the Germany v. Turkey match at Euro08 for that.

    I’m not saying they were without their faults, you just happened to pick the wrong ones.

    Euro 2008 was a well covered tournament though. However, I just don’t see it becoming a breakout mainstream sport so long as ONLY non-American voices are calling the game (a non-American color analyst would be fine since there are plenty of other sports that have that here). It will feel to the casual fan like they are watching someone else’s party. For now they are doing a good job and their understated style fits the game better so it’s just up to North American announcers to catch up. (yes, I’m including Canadian soccer announcers as they are nothing to write home about either.

  18. Richard Whittall

    Love these responses! I think I’ll dive in here for a moment — I didn’t meant to assert that because the announcers were British they were innately more qualified to call the matches; I meant to imply that they had a long history of calling the game, and (at least those of the non-ITV, Sky, or Motty and Lawro variety) could likely be counted on doing so in a relatively unbiased way with England out of the picture (although pobody’s nerfect).

    Hey, if you love some down home jingoism with your football, by all means — I just don’t think it has EVER proved a smart way to market a game to newcomers: I mean, why at that point would you even care or want to learn about the other teams of the tournament when you’re constantly reminded to root root root for the home team?

    My problems with Edwards’ coverage of the games in particular was that it wasn’t really appropriate for the moment; he was a hockey telecaster first, a college soccer commentator second, and it showed. And Papa Bear, I am right there with you on the quality of the Canadian announcers — if you think Edwards’ is bad, try sitting through a Toronto FC game with Craig Forrest.

    Alejandro — I caught most of this Euro 2008 tournament from my desk at work on Spanish ESPN feed and it was great, way too much talking, but pretty lively. I think though it’s not quite realistic to expect non-Spanish speaking Americans to latch on to a Spanish-language broadcast.

  19. Timoteo

    The important attributes of a color commentator or announcer:
    1) Knowledgeable
    2) Informed
    3) Passionate
    4) Fair
    5) Have a perspective, have something interesting to say and be able to say it in an intelligent, entertaining way.

    Fair does not mean that you can’t be rooting for one team or the other. If you are a hometeam announcer, there is nothing wrong with getting more excited about the home team scoring a goal than the opposition. However, in the analysis of play and the game, you must be balanced.

    Don Cherry, the Canadian hockey announcer, is one example. He has all the above attributes. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says about hockey, but I still love it when he is the color commentator.

    Howard Cosell was another. He had a unique perspective, and even if you didn’t agree, his comments made you consider aspects of the sport and brought up important and interesting issues.

  20. A.

    @papa bear

    You can call a pitch ‘field’ and a fixture list ‘schedule’ all you like but please don’t call extra time ‘overtime’!

  21. Matt

    Agreed with A.

    And please, please don’t call penalties ‘PKs’ That makes me wanna throw up.

    :o )

  22. soccer Fan

    It has nothing to do with patriotism or anything like that generally sports without time outs are not favorites among American media because they don’t make as much money through advertising.

    All favorite American sports have many time outs and stoppage times allowing media make a lot of money. Superbowl is the most popular sporting event for American media because of its expensive commercials and consequently NFL is the most popular sport for the media because it stops so often it even has “TV Breaks”.

    So you see as long as media is only after making money, there isn’t much room from soccer to grow in America.

    The best solution I recommend is that we need to DEMAND media to broadcast more soccer on TV and also boycott there sports by not watching them.

    Soccer Fan

  23. Steve

    Andy Gray…knows the game and can provide accurate insight, not just meaningless opinion. He may talk too much, but at least when he talks he makes sense and doesn’t make you want to throw things at the TV (Tommy Smythe take note…)

    As for all of the discussion over nationalities of commentators…imagine if Monday Night Football was covered by Brits…”my word, it’s a touchdown!!”

    I still cringe when I see the news bar on Sky Sports showing US players in hockey and baseball signing “3 year contracts”…they cover it just the same as soccer and that is a pain in the a$$ or ar$se depending upon where you’re from.

  24. bruce

    i fully understand and agree with most of your arguements
    but i am trying to figure out why its bad for espn announcers to be jingoistic when calling usa world cup matches
    every country in the world has homers calling their own world cup games
    a network would be insane to have their announcers call the home team games in a neutral tone
    and if you want to talk about jingoistic, watch games on english television
    every game no matter what country is involved is constantly referencing the premiership
    no one complains about that

  25. fredorrarci

    re: bruce –
    “i fully understand and agree with most of your arguements
    but i am trying to figure out why its bad for espn announcers to be jingoistic when calling usa world cup matches
    every country in the world has homers calling their own world cup games
    a network would be insane to have their announcers call the home team games in a neutral tone
    and if you want to talk about jingoistic, watch games on english television
    every game no matter what country is involved is constantly referencing the premiership
    no one complains about that”

    At the risk of contradicting what I said above, there’s a difference between an announcer taking a favourable tone towards his country’s national team and his being jingoistic. It’s possible for a commentator to get excited about his country doing well yet still provide a rational and reasonably balanced view on the game. Jingoism is insulting to everyone, whether the die-hard fan who can see through such bluster, or the casual viewer who is essentially being patted on the head and told that they won’t be able to comprehend what they are seeing having their emotive hot buttons pushed.

    And surely the fact that English commentators sometimes indulge in this doesn’t make it right?

  26. ryan

    I enjoyed listening to Edwards. He may not be a soccer genius or be some old timer that always tells the view how the game was played in his day. He did have passion. I felt his passion and it made it more enjoyable for me to watch.

    Its the same reason that when I watch the Vikings (NFL) on tv I always turn the sound down and listen to the local announcers on the radio. I rather have some passion then the boring announcers.

  27. fredorrarci

    The second-last sentence of my post should end :

    “or the casual viewer who is essentially being patted on the head and told that they won’t be able to comprehend what they are seeing without having their emotive hot buttons pushed”

    just in case it failed to make sense.

  28. Bulk VanDerHuge

    Oh, man, Ryan … Paul Allen is HORRIBLE. But better than suffering through Joe Buck, I suppose.

    I enjoy a number of English announcers. Jon Champion has a style I like and for color commentary I think Efan Okoku is quite good. And I couldn’t agree more with the sentiment expressed upthread – the term “PK” makes me want to hurl for distance. It’s like someone talking about a “fair pole” in baseball.

  29. alex

    27 – oh we do complain about it. Fabregas stepping up to take what would be the winning penalty against Italy…

    John Motson on the BBC: And it’s Fabregas,an Arsenal player!

    As if the fact that he played his club football in North London was the most important thing to mention at that moment. The whole of the rest of the tournament was like that too, they don’t quite understand that, as football fans, we’ll watch football outside the prism of the Premier League because, well, it’s football.

    I’m also intrigued as to what they call contracts in American sport or indeed, America itself.

  30. David H.

    “I’m also intrigued as to what they call contracts in American sport or indeed, America itself.”

    Well, as an American I can tell you that they’re usually called, well, contracts. Sometimes referred to as “deals,” but if you’re talking about something signed between 2 parties to cement a relationship of payment for services rendered then in American sports our commentators, and the rest of us, call them contracts.

    I’m curious as to what Steve on July 15th, 2008 at 1:43 pm: thought they might be called here. Not trying to call out Steve, just wondering. I don’t think this on the level of pitch v. field or uniform v. kit or anything like that.

  31. Chris B.

    When I lived in England in the mid 1980′s I loved how the BBC would have just ONE announcer per game, no color commentator, no sideline guy, just straight ahead play by play enhanced by the descriptive turn of phrase, especially after a great pass or well played tackle. The announcers never seemed to actually say much when a goal was scored, but their voices would rise to build the tension as the play developed. “Smith. To Daglish. Well done. Finds the opening…(goal scored). For the last ten minutes the pitch had been tilted in Liverpool’s favor, and now the lads from Merseyside have gotten their equalizer.” Did some kind of Americianization of footy occur where everyone thought they needed a “John Madden” character to offer spirited insight or comical asides to up the entertainment value?

    Point being, guys like Gray and even Tommie Smith add some flavor, but without a great play by play man, it is all for nothing. Healy and Derek Rae were the heroes of the Euro ESPN coverage in my book. Overall, JP Dellacamera is the top American soccer announcer in my book, with Bretos perhaps being a touch more fun. He always sounds like he is having a good time and both he and JP actually pay attention to the game, instead of talking about what college some guy went to or what his favorite food is.

  32. Phillies

    The coverage by ESPN had undoubtedly improved, but there’ s still a long way to go. I think they’ll need to find knowlegable American commentators in order for soccer to begin to catch on in America. I think the second many people tune in an hear a foreign accent, the assumption is “this isn’t for me.”

  33. Diamonds Soccer Live Football Reviews

    I think I understand where Richard is coming from with regards to having commentators who actually know the game and its history well. When I first had to endure early ESPN telecasts of matches in my area with commentators who flooded the commentary with American sport lingo, it was irritating to say the least. The volume was usually turned down then. If you try too hard to Americanize a sport in a bid to attract those who are strangers to it, they will usually end up comparing it subconsciously, to the NFL, NBA etc., imho.

  34. Tony B

    The important attributes of a color commentator or announcer:
    1) Knowledgeable
    2) Informed
    3) Passionate
    4) Fair
    5) Have a perspective, have something interesting to say and be able to say it in an intelligent, entertaining way.

    Fair does not mean that you can’t be rooting for one team or the other. If you are a hometeam announcer, there is nothing wrong with getting more excited about the home team scoring a goal than the opposition. However, in the analysis of play and the game, you must be balanced.

    Don Cherry, the Canadian hockey announcer, is one example. He has all the above attributes. I don’t agree with a lot of what he says about hockey, but I still love it when he is the color commentator.

    Howard Cosell was another. He had a unique perspective, and even if you didn’t agree, his comments made you consider aspects of the sport and brought up important and interesting issues.

  35. Jagad Guru

    I did not watch USA v Portugal during the ‘02 World Cup so I have no insights or feelings about the commentary offered by Jack Edwards. But I would not be the least offended by “he shoots, SCORES!” The players do infact take shots on goal and sometimes they even score. At times I think people get to picky when it comes to the “Americanization” of soccer. The commentators here in the States don’t have to emulate those around the globe 100% of the time.

  36. jake

    it is HORRIBLE. But better than suffering through Joe Buck, I suppose.

    I enjoy a number of English announcers. Jon Champion has a style I like and for color commentary I think Efan Okoku is quite good.

  37. Soccer Uniform

    There are lots of Sports channels and get confused and miss some important matches as i have missed USA v Portugal in 02 world cup. Let the what USA soccer will do in 2011. it will be an huge even an extravaganza to watch.

  38. Soccer Uniform

    M extremely agree with you as a player of soccer. But here you have used tow terms that I dont like to say field as pitch and over time as extra time. Please never use these terms in the matter of games specially in soccer.

  39. David

    I am not too impressed with ESPN’s football commentators. They do not seem to know much about football, and also, the cameraman focuses for too long on a player who is not involved on the ball.