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Behind-The-Scenes at GolTV And American Soccer

american soccer Behind The Scenes at GolTV And American Soccer

Across the street from the GolTV studios on the JF Kennedy Causeway in Miami is the beautiful green water of Biscayne Bay. Stroll down the street and you see the WSVN Channel 7 studios featuring a view of downtown Miami to the left and Miami Beach to the right.

Yet, one block away, the buildings that house GolTV comprise two nondescript structures. One is a free-standing edifice that’s so unassuming from the outside that it’s easy to drive past without noticing. The building’s blue color is warm and soothing, though, and consistent with the look and feel of the network.

The offices of GolTV, meanwhile, are on the fourth floor of a generic office building that’s separated from the studios by a strip plaza. It’s hardly the surroundings that I imagined, but it made me realize how the professionalism and GolTV brand makes the 24 hour soccer network appear much larger than what the buildings portray.

Buildings aside, what matters most about GolTV is the product on the screen and how it’s presented, which I believe is exceptional and continues to improve. More on that later.

Inside the GolTV offices, I was impressed by the TV monitors inside every office and almost every cube on the floor. The day I arrived, everyone was watching the Chelsea against Valencia match from the Champions League. How refreshing it must be to work in a company where watching soccer on TV is encouraged!

After a tour of the GolTV offices and the impressive conference room (see the photo slideshow here of the entire behind-the-scenes tour), we headed over to the GolTV studio. Inside, it was a rudimentary building but filled with a team of hard-working people. After a brief tour, we stepped on to the set and chatted with the team of the “American Soccer” TV show (Phil Schoen, Ray Hudson, Lindsey Dean and Kelly O’Donnell).

As the cameramen made their preparations, the team of “American Soccer” traded notes, jokes and verified pronunciations as well as running through the schedule of the show to ensure that everything was prepared before the cameras started rolling.

We then had the pleasure of sitting in the studio and watching the “American Soccer” TV show unfold. Aired on Wednesday’s at 8pm ET, the show is by far the best original soccer programming in the States packed with 60 minutes of news, highlights, analysis and passion.

Sitting back and watching the show being taped, I could see first-hand the fantastic chemistry and knowledge of the game that Schoen, Hudson, Dean and O’Donnell possess. Each of them are scholars of the game, and are able to communicate that knowledge with confidence, energy and, at times, humor.

Incredibly, the show was taped with only one or two retakes in the entire 60 minutes (one, when O’Donnell forgot to switch on his headset so he could hear the producer). Schoen, who was interviewed recently on the EPL Talk Podcast, demonstrated his experience in broadcasting by taking the lead and maintaining a professional attitude throughout without distancing himself from the viewer.

Between takes, the running joke throughout this episode was the tie selection worn by the hosts. While the team works well together on-screen, their chemistry off-screen is equally as impressive.

Hudson, the master of the English language and passionate man of the beautiful game, was in his element as he added his observations unscripted throughout the show. In addition to Hudson, the whole team on “American Soccer” had the freedom to adlib throughout the show, which made it feel more natural.

During a break in the show, “American Soccer” and GolTV producer Helberth Ariza graciously invited us into the control room to see the other side of the show where Ariza and his team of four people put together all of the elements to make the show a success. As soon as the cameras rolled, Ariza was in complete control directing his team to roll tape on cue and ensuring that the show was perfected.

Without a doubt, the production value on “American Soccer” is superb. The entire team that works together on the show runs a tight ship. While the outside of the studio may appear unassuming, inside it’s a different picture altogether and it’s very apparent that GolTV has a winning formula in place.

The first episode of the EPL Talk Video Podcast will be released in the next 24-48 hours featuring video from the behind-the-scenes tour of the GolTV studios plus an interview with Ray Hudson.

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About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013.
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