Why ESPN Needs a US Commentator For Its World Cup TV Coverage

espn logo Why ESPN Needs a US Commentator For Its World Cup TV Coverage

ESPN generated controversy Thursday when it named its four lead commentators for US TV coverage of the 2010 World Cup. All four are British born, but not one US-born commentator was selected.

Of the four chosen by ESPN, three of them are English (Martin Tyler, Ian Darke and Adrian Healey), while one is Scottish (Derek Rae).

After the news was announced, I came out strongly in expressing my dismay at ESPN’s decision to demote JP Dellacamera from covering the World Cup on television to radio.

I feel so strongly that ESPN should have named a US commentator among its four that I decided to explain why in more detail in this post. But before I do that, I want to say that I think that all of you will agree with me that it’s important for ESPN to deliver a quality production this summer, which means selecting the most qualified commentators available to the network. I also want to say that I’m not married to JP Dellacamera being the US lead commentator. I recognize that he’s not the best, but he does have a long history of covering the U.S. men’s national team, he’s earned his wings and knows the team well.

Whether it’s JP Dellacamera or a different US soccer commentator, here are the reasons why I believe ESPN should have selected a US-born commentator as part of its lead commentator team on TV:

  1. Bigger appeal to mainstream. Many sports fans only watch soccer every four years, so having a team of British lead commentators is automatically going to create a “distance” between the viewer and the commentator. An American commentator would be more appropriate for a US viewing audience.
  2. Accents are easier to understand. The vast majority of soccer fans are used to listening to British accents and understanding what they’re saying. However, the mainstream in America have a difficulty with foreign accents. If you don’t believe me, watch BBC America and watch how often they feature subtitles when English-speaking people are on television. This includes British television shows and their nightly news show. If the viewing audience for the World Cup can’t understand every word a commentator says, it’s going to decrease their level of interest.
  3. American identity. When a US TV network televises the World Cup, you would expect some of the commentators to be American. Sure, the presenters will be American but you would hope that the American voices would carry over to the commentating of the game. For the World Cup to be a completely successful production, you need the tournament to have an American identity. You need something that Americans can relate to. Listening to four Brits leading the commentating will not do that. The co-commentators will help, but why not mix it up and have one US commentator be the lead and have a Brit be the color commentator?
  4. Greater knowledge of American game and players. US commentators such as Phil Schoen and JP Dellacamera have lived and breathed the US soccer game for decades. World-class commentators such as Martin Tyler and Ian Darke will study and learn more about the US, but they’re not going to know more than Schoen, Dellacamera or others more familiar with the sport in this country.
  5. The need to groom commentators in this country. With ESPN’s reliance on foreign commentators, what is the network (and other soccer networks, too) doing to groom the next generation of US soccer commentators? Are we always going to rely on European commentators to lead the way? What is ESPN’s strategy to ensure that US commentators are groomed to cover the game?
  6. The World Cup effect. When a World Cup ends, the number of new soccer fans born is massive – especially in the United States. But when the lead voices of this summer’s World Cup go back to their regular day-to-day work, it’s the Premier League who will profit from the massive interest in the World Cup, not Major League Soccer. After the World Cup ends, soccer fans will find Martin Tyler and Ian Darke commentating on the Premier League. Adrian Healey will continue to present the Premier League coverage on ESPN. And Derek Rae will continue switching between covering the Scottish Premier League in his home country and some matches in the States. Where is Major League Soccer in this equation? What is ESPN saying to the average soccer fan when it’s giving so much preference to the Premier League and British commentators?

I’ve listened to the feedback of many of my readers who have been surprised at my viewpoint regarding this controversial subject. Yes, I am British but I’m also an American citizen and I want the game to succeed in this country. By ESPN not picking a US-born lead commentator, ESPN is saying to me that it’s putting its cards on the Premier League becoming even more popular in the United States while Major League Soccer is a much lesser priority.

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. View all posts by Christopher Harris →

160 Responses to Why ESPN Needs a US Commentator For Its World Cup TV Coverage

  1. Mark says:

    The eurosnobs have taken over our soccer culture. Those of us who love MLS and USMNT need to fight back. Flood ESPN with complaints and tell them we won’t back down until all the Brits announcers are removed.

    MLS is our local league and we should be proud of it.

    We can solve this by BEATING ENGLAND!

    • SSReporters says:

      What the HELL does MLS have to do with having GOOD announcers who all beat the crap out of JP Dellacamera?

      Weren’t we just complaining about the likes of Dave O’Brien and Marcelo Balboa four years ago?

      I would’ve preferred JP on US team matches only but I guess they’ll likely compensate by having Harkes.

      This Eurosnob stuff is overboard and ignorant.

      Would you prefer those American guys from 2006 or this lot from 2010 that isn’t even the finished product?

      • The Gaffer says:

        SS, I don’t want the American guys from 2006, and I think the team for 2010 is excellent with one exception. I would have preferred ESPN to either add a fifth lead commentator or replace Adrian Healey (nothing against him) with an American voice.

        Phil Schoen is qualified enough to step in and be an immediate success for this World Cup.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

        • SSReporters says:

          I actually agree with replacing Healey. He just doesn’t do it for me.

        • Ed Bazan says:

          I agree and am very upset we have to listen to those guys during all the ESPN broadcasts of the World Cup. Please post the names & email addresses of those folks at ESPN we should write to in order to voice our displeasure. That could even be the basis for another article for you to post.

          Guess I’ll be watching more games on Univision this time around.

          • Rich says:

            Thank you, Thank you! I agree 100%!!!
            Please call ESPN (English Soccer Propaganda Network)
            Customer Care can be reached at 1-888-549-3776 and
            please let them know that will be boycotting ESPN anf watching Univision. Good luck!

    • DCUDiplomat96 says:

      I am in I should also wirte to world Football phone and call out Sean Wheelock for being the Super Eurosnob he is too! I betcha he wacking a hard on right now about this.

    • tombo says:

      what a load of horse shit you yanks dont even know how to play the game never mind commentate on it, who the hell do you think you are ?? you are the most hated nation on earth, your yank arrogance is deplorable.. thats why yoy got your asses kicked in vietnam……… you all live in dreamland.. The world series ????????????????? what fhe hell is that ??? prissies playing rounders and stuffing on hot dogs and coke, no wonder your the most over weight nation on the planet, and your stupid ” football ” game you play with crash helmits and pads…… what a load of wankers.. RULE BRITTANIA

  2. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Im Glad the Gaffer wrote a response to the Move ESPN Made in eurotising the soccercast on American Television. Im sorry But Tyler doesnt appeal to me.. to me he is Boring why would ESPN want a boring british voice over USMNT games??? I hope ESPN will regret this move they did. Its a slap in the face to the true American Soccer Fans, and thats American soccer fans are not eurosnobs!

  3. ruffneckc says:

    US commentators are a joke! Talking about the pitch like “real estate” and calling penalties “PKs” and just other silly terms. OK, that may be a tad overboard BUT they have no insight into the players or leagues that they play in and generally are very poor in their analysis of the action. Anyone can to play by plays and even that they do poorly.

    I remember one American commentator at the 2006 WC spouting something about Ronaldo for Brazil; about how fat he was and lazy and perhaps needed some cake, or something like that.

    Well done EPSN get rid of the lot!

  4. Mark says:

    Here in the states, we want people who will tell stories and fill in time. The eurosnob thing is well deserved. These people trash MLS, which has brought professional soccer to this country at a high level. MLS now has 18 teams across the country and that means we have 18 professional teams to support, so surely a team is close by to everyone. Yet people continue to watch teams they have no personal connection to and can’t go to the games of, because we are told it is better. But no proof actually exists that it is better or that someone with a brit accent can explain the sport properly. We need to start a campaign to tell ESPN what we think of this nonsense.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Mark and others, I would suggest contacting ESPN’s ombudsman, Don Ohlmeyer. His contact info can be found at http://search.espn.go.com/ombudsman/

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • SSReporters says:

      “Here in the states, we want people who will tell stories and fill in time”

      Which isn’t commentary. That’s pointless filler. You just showed why American announcers suck.

      “These people trash MLS, which has brought professional soccer to this country at a high level.”

      Because at the moment (and I stress that), it is vastly inferior to most European leagues. Come on, the MLS is having trouble beating teams from Trinidad and Tobago.

      • The Gaffer says:

        As for people telling the story, my two cents is that Bob Ley should be doing that as the presenter and that it’s not the responsibility of the lead commentator.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

      • Mark says:

        SSReporters, move to England if you think MLS sucks. When did MLS teams fielding a full squad ever lose to a Trinidad & Tobago team. Search long and hard because you won’t find a single instance.

        Maybe you confuse MLS with the semi-professional USL/NASL which thjis blog loves so much.

        As for commentary, Americans clearly prefer one type of commentary and Brits another. Quick is the United States, the USB or the USA? Which is it.

        BEAT ENGLAND!

        • SSReporters says:

          Joe Public beat a full New England Revolution squad IN NEW ENGLAND in the CONCACAF Champions League two years ago. Bang. Thanks for playing.

          I never said the MLS sucks….but it’s nowhere near the quality of many other leagues.

          You’re making a strawman argument for something that started with announcers. This is just talking angry and blowing off steam instead of taking a calm approach to the subject.

  5. SSReporters says:

    Here’s what I want in a commentator:

    1.) Significant knowledge of the event at hand.

    2.) Eloquence, good delivery, and a good voice.

    3.) Excitement without screaming like Rob Stone does.

    4.) For them to not talk and fill up every second of the game with words. It’s TV so we can already see what’s going on.

    Dellacamera is the closest to this….but he fails #4.

    • totoro says:

      Nice set of criteria. Who is expected to tune into ESPN’s coverage…I wonder what pct will be new to soccer? It would help to have people who can explain basic concepts (even rules) and strategies, and do it quickly (since there’s not the usual time for the video replay Americans are so used to).

      And yet, not be so annoying about it as say, Tim McCarver is in Fox MLB coverage.

  6. Mike says:

    R u bipolar? You spent the whole time winning about anything american when it comes to soccer, suddently you want american broadcasters? You should check your archive….

  7. Charles says:

    The Sounders did the same thing.
    Took a very good announcer, a legend locally and well liked nationally for the first year.

    Then the second year decided to go with…you guessed it the British guy. Give the local hero the boot.

    ESPN and the Sounders are really saying Americans don’t understand soccer.
    300 million people and you couldn’t find one guy to announce the games ?

    How are my son and I supposed to identify with some guy that asks rhetorical questions instead of statements ? It really is rediculous, isn’t it ? ;-)
    At the very best, I put up with it, and the average American who watches a little every four years, confirms his belief that soccer is a foreign sport.

    • SSReporters says:

      You didn’t even read the comment I gave yesterday, did you? Calabro left because of other commitments AND HE SUCKED AS A SOCCER ANNOUNCER ANYWAY!!! I don’t want a simpleton who is learning with the rest of the casuals. Every week he confused a corner kick with a goal kick and made up player names like “Sebastian Frei” playing for Toronto FC along with “Wayne Rosario”.

      Calabro is awesome at basketball. He’s a local hero. That does not make him qualified automatically to be a great soccer announcer when even he admitted himself he had no background calling the game in his 30 years in professional broadcasting.

      • Charles says:

        i didn’t read your comments sorry, but I have it first hand that he did not leave on his choice. An email straight from him.
        At the time he and I both predicted it would be a British announcer, we are regular fortune tellers. ;-)

        Maybe you and I differ on how great Calabro would have been, I will take you at your word. But you have to admit, the reason they put in the British guy was pressure from a select few that watch EPL night and day who were very vocal.
        Dumb way to run a growing business in my book.

        • SSReporters says:

          …Except Arlo doesn’t do any EPL matches. He’s long been a radio commentator for various sports and the EPL isn’t one of them. Heck, White is a big NFL fan and loves America and even called the last 5 Super Bowls!

          Even if he didn’t leave on his choice, there was no way he could keep his radio show commitments, his NBA commentaries, etc. and still have the time to do Sounders games.

          • Charles says:

            Well if your arguement is the Calabro would miss games, that is different. I would even agree with you. Sounders should be first priority, especially over NBA !
            Just because Arlo doesn’t do EPL games doesn’t mean he wasn’t the choice of the EPL watchers. I have nothing against AW, he seems like a great guy, has a great voice, is a great announcer.
            Just very hard to relate to unless you watch English football all the time.

          • SSReporters says:

            It’s a combination of him being bad and always missing games. He won’t be around during the NBA playoffs.

            Arlo was kind of the only choice because we had heard him once (I’m not a Sounders fan but I live in the area) and he blew Calabro out of the water. Glenn Davis has Houston commitments and can’t do the job.

            Seattle sports personalities that aren’t Niehaus or Calabro are kind of bad. Could you imagine Brad Adam or Paul Silvi working on Sounders games?

          • Charles says:

            Well I guess that sums up the arguement in a nutshell.

            I am upset because I would rather have a great announcer learn the game, or search for a decent American….and if not search the globe, not just England, how about Mexico ? (obviously that will never happen)
            You live in the area and don’t root for the Sounders ( I am guessing English team ? ) and want the British guy.

          • SSReporters says:

            I root for Toronto FC…..sadly.

          • RaiderRich says:

            Yeah, you claim to be a U.S. Soccer Team fan, SSR and you root for a Canadian team over your local American club.

          • SSReporters says:

            So what? There are a lot of American Toronto Maple Leafs fans but does that make me un-American? No.

            I’ve supported TFC since day one and it didn’t have a lot to do with Toronto itself but the fan support and I’m a sucker for any expansion team’s success. Besides we have American players whom I root for despite their total crap play (Marvell Wynne).

            But no, once again RaiderRich has come up with another stupid, xenophobic comment on the EPL/MLS Talk website.

    • SSReporters says:

      ESPN’s belief that Americans don’t understand soccer is having the likes of O’Brien and Balboa lead the greatest sporting event in the world. They dumbed down the coverage and everyone whined because Americans have enough knowledgeable soccer fans. In turn they realize that we have lousy announcers with 1-2 “decent” ones around and that’s it.

      • The Gaffer says:

        So give the 1-2 decent US ones a chance! Add one US-born commentator as the fifth lead or replace Healey with one decent US one.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

    • Seybold says:

      Calabro is a first-rate basketball announcer, but he’s not very good at soccer. I’m glad he was there the first season, it was a great idea to have a local legend to get things started.

      Calabro’s first priority is calling NBA games, and he regularly missed Sounders matches to call NBA games. He was never 100% committed to the Sounders, so why should they be 100% committed to him?

  8. madvibes says:

    the simple fact is that the american announcers are homers. i think JP is a decent commentator, but perhaps the americans that are watching the world cup will soon come to realize that typical american sports announcers do nothing but talk over the action and bring their own agendas to the game. the great (and i mean GREAT) thing about watching the EPL is that usually the announcers are only there to support the game, and often just let the crowd call the match.

    I see your points about making football more accessible to the casual world cup watchers, but honestly, it’s about the game(s), not the announcers. if the USMNT plays well, americans will buy into it and watch as they progress in the tournament. if they fail, american viewership will drop off considerably anyway, and then what does it matter? i don’t need to hear an american announcer who has no knowledge of footballers outside the US team trying to call a match between two euro teams. I actually think ESPN made the right move.

    and Mark… what does the MLS have to do with anything? and we don’t have any soccer culture! that’s the point… all of the soccer culture in the US was brought here by immigrants and the very few kids who play soccer past high school. “our local league” the MLS is dominated by foreign players.

    • kevin_amold says:

      I agree madvibes, but I see the exact same thing with coverage from other countries, which are even more homer-ific in its coverage. At least Dellacamera and Harkes rarely, if ever, refer to the American team as “we.” They usually say the United States etc etc. I have watched England games where they constantly fall into the pattern of saying “we this, we that.”

      Just saying that American commentors aren’t the only ones that are homers. It doesn’t bother me either.

  9. sucka99 says:

    Gaffer I understand about grooming the next generation, but I don’t think that’s ESPN’s job. Their job is to put on a strong product – especially if the eyes of the IOC will be on their presentation of a world event coming up to the next Olympic TV rights deal (which in the US is 10x better than the World Cup for Disney).

    Here’s another point you didn’t mention. While ESPN are hiring all foreign PxP talent they’re also filling the studio shows with guys like Ley and Tirico who have no understanding of World Football other than what they’ve been able to cram in over the past few months. While capable, knowledgable people in their employ will be shoved to the side (again so they can bring out the big guns as they usually do). I am more upset about that than JP losing his place in the rotation.

    At the end of the day what I want is the best TV product and I’m pretty sure I’m going to get it watching the game. I’m not sure tho I’m going to get it listening to the studio shows.

    • SSReporters says:

      Ley has a good knowledge of soccer considering he was a PA announcer (I think it was that) in the 70s for the Cosmos. He has also done World Cups in the past.

    • RaiderRich says:

      The IOC does not take into account World Cup coverage when it awards TV rights.

      In fact the IOC and FIFA are constantly at loggerheads.

      • SSReporters says:

        If the IOC ever got a look at how ESPN produces Monday Night Football they would give MTV the Olympics before ESPN.

        But yeah for once I agree the IOC has nothing do with FIFA.

      • sucka99 says:

        you don’t think the IOC is going to look at how ESPN produces a world class event when it decides on bids for the 2014 or 2016 Olympics? Why do you think ESPN is going to all this trouble laying down fiber links to South Africa and sending Tirico and Ley and Fowler instead of just taking the world feeds like they did last time?

  10. DMee says:

    ESPN made a good move. Everybody is saying it’s going to be odd, but I think it’s going to be glorious. I got real excited when I read we weren’t going to have to listen to JP and harkes, both of them pinheads who talk to me as if I’ve never seen a match before. I feel like ESPN tries to dumb everything down thinking it’s the best way to attract new casual american viewers. It’s embarrassing and they make soccer sound weak by pointing out the complete obvious.

    The best way to get people in is to make them think it’s the coolest thing in the world, which it is anyway, and let them figure it out for themselves. The typical american soccer fan knows very little about the game, I think. I like being part of that niche group who can thrown down about the worlds game whenever necessary.

    I’m a self admitted eurosnob and if you prefer MLS over the european game it’s easy to conclude you know little about the game. I’m all for MLS and think they are doing it the right way, grassroots and all. But the people who compare it to Europe are clueless. A side of american MLS all stars would not even last a season in the english championship. It’s a fact….sad but true.

    • Charles says:

      “and if you prefer MLS over the european game it’s easy to conclude you know little about the game”

      Screw you. Seriously. I almost never put anything inflamatory in these posts, but give me a break. How would you have any idea how much a guy that is supporting soccer in the US knows about soccer ? How about Alan Hinton ? What if the Sounders are his favorite team ? He doesn’t know anything about soccer ?

  11. Mark says:

    The eurosnobs here are in alliance with the enemy within as we call them. People like Krishnaiyer and his buddies in this new latin-eurocentric NASL league that seeks to undermine MLS, which is our league and which reflects a distinctly American culture. I heard Krishnaiyer after taking the NASL job say his league will be adhere to FIFA statutes as far as player contracts and transfers. Hey KK, this is America, lest you forget and we have trades, salary caps and our OWN FREAKING CULTURE OF SPORTS. MLS reflects this culture and works within it. The new league is competing with MLS, which should be our only professional league and is trying to put a Euro model in place. You know how many Brit and Latin coaches with no American playing experience are in Krishnaiyer’s D2 league? It’s insulting to all of us. KK himself isn’t the problem, it’s the culture here that he decided to join rather than fight.

    No wonder I puke when coming to this site. The comment threads here still reflect this euro-centric bias. Originally this site was very pro MLS, but like the wind KK and his allies drifted to the pro Brit perspective over time. It’s not just KK, NASL or MLS Talk. It is the whole soccer world now applauding Martin Tyler and Arlo White’s hiring. It’s all the discussion about Man U or Arsenal. It is the number of British themed radio podcasts and websites out there.

    We have developed a self defeatism. America is a proud country. We are the world leaders in so many things, and it is the Brits that wish they lived here. Why do we feel in this one segment of life we need to adopt their ways? WE ARE AMERICANS FOR PETE’S SAKE, WE ARE LEADERS!

  12. JM says:

    I fall in the middle on this. I’d like seasoned presentation, but it is pretty obtuse to believe that automatically means a foreign accent.

    I laugh at the Brits/Euro Posers nitpicking at mispronunciations. Listen to a Premier League game, any Premier League game, and you hear the commentators mispronounce foreign names. LIterally every game.

    I also laugh when they attack former USMNT members as stupid American know-nothings, when those former players spent time in Europe’s big leagues.

    ESPN made some major mistakes in their coverage in 2006, and this is the classic over adjustment. What they really need to do is develop an International cast for the World Cup finals, with strong American influence.

    I’d love a mix of European announcers on loan, regular American network announcers, and American familiar announcers… what is an American familiar announcer? I’m thinking someone that has a positive view of America and its football program, but doesn’t announce on American networks. Guys like Rodney Marsh, Jurgen Klinsmann, etc. who have broadcasting experience, but have spent a good part of their life here.

  13. JM says:

    “A side of american MLS all stars would not even last a season in the english championship. It’s a fact….sad but true.”

    congrats DMee; you just proved you know nothing about the game.

    • SSReporters says:

      They would last in the Championship but get destroyed in the Premier League.

      If MLS teams routinely struggle in CONCACAF then how are they going to top a team like Arsenal?

      • Charles says:

        More than half of the Premier League gets destroyed in the Premier League.
        All but 6 teams are all but eliminated…. with more than a 1/4 of the season left.

        • SSReporters says:

          So based on that 14 teams are level with the MLS?

          • Charles says:

            Nah, I don’t think MLS are level with the other 14 even. It is narrowing however. When the Henrys and Ljungberg aren’t playing for the top teams, they don’t want to play for the losers and can make huge money here, plus Americans are getting better, the Holden-types are popping up. Maybe they don’t win World Cups, but pretty good players.
            MLS Allstar team play in the Premier League, sure. Beckham, Donavon, Keller, Ljungberg, etc. yeah, they could play and get beaten by Man U like the Premier teams….
            but the average MLS teams has some weak link(s) that an EPL team doesn’t have. Toronto’s missing a defender, puts them almost in playoffs, gets them crushed in EPL. Seattle’s lack of a finisher means they are playing for ties and probably not getting them very often.

            IF MLS had more fans, it would get very close, very quickly.
            Way off topic but fun.

  14. SSReporters says:

    “If the viewing audience for the World Cup can’t understand every word a commentator says, it’s going to decrease their level of interest.”

    I don’t understand this. Maybe you’re alluding to basic speak, phrases and terminology like “turned it ’round”, but all of these announcers are clear spoken. They didn’t just go out and hire Corey Cockney from East London.

    • The Gaffer says:

      SS, from personal experience, some Americans can’t understand everything I say when I speak. Not the British slang words I throw out there. Just the way that I pronounce some words. They understand 80% of what I say, but it’s that 20% that I believe could turn some American viewers off.

      For the majority of die-hard soccer fans in the United States, this isn’t an issue for us because we’ve trained ourselves (subconsciously may I add) to understand English commentators.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  15. vic says:

    i like the little curmudgeonly bald-headed fellow, tommy something or other. Why isnt he part of the 4? He just does pre-game analysis?

      • Marmaduke says:

        Tommy Smyth is a fool. Not that he’s stupid, just that he doesn’t offer any insight as an announcer and often says some ridiculous things. He is loads of fun to watch, though, particularly when he’s the announcer on your home team. I’d leave him on the local broadcasts, not the world cup, but I think you’re lucky if you’ve got him doing your club’s games.

  16. Aaron says:

    I really don’t mind this at all. The American commentators just drone on and on and on… I wanted to hurl something at my screen while I was watching US v NED Wednesday because Harkes refuses to shut up. The British announcers seem to know when to stop talking and let the sounds of the game tell the story.

  17. Silverback says:

    Difficult one this and many comments are (perhaps understandably) going way off topic as it’s an emotive subject…….football/soccer.

    I’m British and spend 6 months in the UK and 6 in the USA so am a bit on the fence re commentators. I know I prefer UK ones for many reasons, some of which have been mentioned above. We Brits have to put up with US commentators when watching NFL games and as they are the experts and the feeds are from the US, that’s fair enough. It does foster a ‘foreign game’ syndrome though and I’m sure that’s a good argument for having at least one US lead commentator on the ESPN coverage of the WC.

    Yes US commentators slip in their own expressions (the classic being ‘the old onion bag’ by Tommy Smyth) and may mention corner kicks, free kicks and penalties etc in a non European way but come on, this IS a different country after all and so many words and expressions are altered. Try listening to a US news program where countries like Eye-raq, Chil-aye and ‘best’ of all, Cutter are mentioned and you’ll understand my point.

    It’s pointless trying to compare the MLS to the EPL or any other league. Although soccer has been going on here for decades, it’s only relatively recently that it’s got a foothold at grass roots and so the only way it can now go is UP. Kids must identify with the sport here and having a familiar accent commentating has to help. Believe me, WE need subtitles for some regional British commentators too !

    So basically I’m saying that given the number of games being broadcast, surely having one home grown commentator wouldn’t be too much to ask for…..even if he only commentates on the US games !

    The ‘beautiful game’ will be on display this summer so let’s not get all hot and bothered about commentators anyway. The game itself is the important thing.

    And leave talk about being world leaders out of this post for goodness sake.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Silverback, good points.

      My question to you, the readers, is this: What type of message does ESPN send to viewers when none of the lead TV commentators are US born?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

    • Charles says:

      I don’t see how it can be taken anyway other than:
      The US doesn’t know/understand the game

      To a non soccerblog posting guy soccer is a foreign sport. It is definitely how the guy sitting behind me will take it. He will watch a little of the World Cup, think it is a foreign sport going in, the commentator will of course be British…exactly what he expected. Maybe watch it all, maybe turn it off, but either wait for American football to start in a couple of months.
      Hard to see how ESPN with rights to MLS thinks this is a good business idea.

  18. Eric Altshule says:

    Interesting article well argued, but I am not sure I buy it. I like J.P. Dellacamera and think he is a decent announcer. I think Harkes is a really good color commentators and am sure he will be in the booth somewhere for the World Cup. That all being said, I think the first priority for an event like the World Cup has to be quality, and if the best, most knowledgeable, most melodic announcers are in the UK, I am there.

    I grew up listening to Vin Scully call Dodger games every night. He is, arguably, the best American play-by-play announcer in the history of broadcast sports. As I would travel and live throughout the country listening to other announcers in other cities, I would encounter many who I thought were pretty good. However, the gulf in quality – the ability to paint a picture with their words – between Scully and the rest was dramatic. Listen to Scully’s call of the last inning of Sandy Koufax’s perfect at http://www.baseball-fever.com/showthread.php?31154-Last-Inning-of-Sandy-Koufax-s-Perfect-Game. If you had a week, could you write a better description of the events than Scully delivers live?

    That is the kind of quality you want for an event like the World Cup. For better or worse, all of soccer’s Scullys are working in England. With years of experience, an intuitive feel for the rhythm of the game, and the ability to know when to throw their voice into the description and when to hold it back, these are the announcers you want guiding American audiences through the World Cup experience. For me, the first order of business is to get the best. I like Dellacamera, but there are better, and I am against trade barriers that prevent us from having the best possible product.

  19. Jason says:

    I actually think American announcers make the game sound more complex that it is and have a very poor understanding of the rules.

    I believe, since soccer is a more populist game in Europe, the commentating actually reflects that, and is easier to follow.

    While, some Americans may have difficutly with the accent, I think the idioms will be more difficult to follow.

    I am of the opinion that the World Cup will have very little impact on MLS. MLS will only get the next level with better quality players, so ESPN can use whoever it wants to commentate, especially if it will make it more enjoyable for me.

  20. Frank says:

    Arguing an MLS all star team would survive in the Prem is dumb. Dempsey said they would be relegated and if you take Becks out of it, they could be as bad as Derby was few years ago. Ljunberg was not even serviceable at West Ham his last season of Premier League Football.

    It is the MLS fan with an inferiority complex that keeps making these comparisons not those of us who watch multiple leagues and understand the pecking order of world football. I am not sure an MLS All Star team would survive in Serie A, Bundesliga or La Liga either.

    • Charles says:

      Well as an MLS fan without the inferiority complex I don’t think it takes that much to finish 60 points out of first place.
      I gave myself a year to watch/follow the EPL, I didn’t make it. Better things to do with my time than to see Everton battle for 10th place against a team that will be battling for 21st place next year.

      It is funny, you start out saying MLS can’t compete, then you finish saying the MLS guy with the inferiority complex is the guy that says they can/are close ?
      BTW, was Holden even on the MLS Allstars last year? Seems to me he is making it over there.

      • Frank says:

        Do you know the sheer number of guys who struggled at 2nd and 3rd division levels in Europe that have been really good in MLS? It is an almost sick, endless list. Go down to USL and you see players who could not even cope professionally in Europe excelling.

        Selective examples like Holden don’t prove much, especially considering he only played in two Premier League games.

  21. Brian says:

    @ Gaffer:

    Finding a bigger audience is a moot point. It’s clear that there is a ton of people in this country who want top notch football, illustrated by the fact that 90,000+ went to the Rose Bowl for Chelsea-Inter, while most MLS markets struggle for 15-20K on average.

    Shoving Dellacamera down our throats in spite of having better alternatives would be a terrible disservice to those who week in, week out breathe football in this country. ABC/ESPN isn’t just doing this for the USA – this is a global event and they are satisfying most of the fanbase as best as possible.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Brian, I’m not saying that JP Dellacamera should be the commentator. I’m saying that he should be seriously considered as should Phil Schoen.

      Yes, the World Cup is a global event, but the broadcasts by ABC/ESPN will only be shown in the United States. Viewers around the world will hear a different set of commentators on a country by country basis depending on where they live.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  22. James says:

    No offense, but they put the best commentators on the games.

    As a proud MLS lifetime season ticket holder and a huge US fan, I cannot stand to hear JP and Harkes calling our games. JP is passable. but all Harkes does is TALK SHIT ABOUT THE U.S. He is over-critical and you can just hear how he wishes he had received the same attention when he played that the national team does now.

    The coverage will be much better, which is what you want if you want to expand soccer’s base in the U.S.

    • Charles says:

      Nah, what you want is someone that is cool and can do a good job announcing to expand the fan base. British guys may be really witty and cool in England, but Americans want some that is funny and cool in the US.
      Look at the annoying bald guy, how is ever on TV ? maybe he is really cool in England, doesn’t translate then.

  23. Marmaduke says:

    I think it is probably a smart move on their part, although it may be over compensating for the disaster last time around. I would like to see/hear an American in the mix, but maybe there isn’t anyone good enough.

    Well, I’d bet there is someone good enough, but no one with a good enough resume for ESPN to gamble on after last time around. It’s hard to believe that in all the MLS markets there isn’t someone calling local games who might have the skills to do a good job at the world cup. I’m a fan of Greg Lalas personally.

    Historically, English language soccer broadcasts are dominated by the Brits, so it’s not surprising that they still are the best. Maybe the MLS should be scouting for announcer talent. More knowledgeable, entertaining, American voices would really help the league and the game in this country.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Marmaduke, following up on your comments that “I’d bet there is someone good enough, but no one with a good enough resume for ESPN to gamble on after last time around. It’s hard to believe that in all the MLS markets there isn’t someone calling local games who might have the skills to do a good job at the world cup,” there is someone and that someone is Phil Schoen who has the experience in commentating on US international games, MLS games and La Liga, one of the best leagues in the world.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  24. Brian says:

    Here’s the issue: I’m not familiar with Darke but Healey, Tyler and Rae are all good. I’m not Eurosnob but let’s face it, most American announcers stink at calling a soccer game. They all talk too much and are too reliant on irrelevant statistics and name-dropping.

    If there were to be an American PBP, it would have be Dellacamera. But he still talks too much and is too wedded to stats and telling stories that having nothing to do with the action on the field.

    The only other decent American PBP guy is Glenn Davis, who’s better than JP, but he’s employed by ESPN rival FSC.

    There are a few good American analysts (or color commentators in the US lingo) — Greg Lalas and Kyle Martino — I’m not sure either of them would be available.

    But the bottom line is that most American announcers that could be named would DETRACT from the broadcast. Do we really want to bring back Dave O’Brien or Jack Edwards just because they’re American?

  25. Brian says:

    “I’m saying that he should be seriously considered as should Phil Schoen.”

    I haven’t watched GolTV much in the last few years but back when I did, Phil Schoen was the worst play-by-play announcer I ever heard, hands down (well maybe the Revs’ Brad Feldman)… always trying way too hard to sound profound. Has he really gotten THAT much better in the last few years?

    • The Gaffer says:

      Brian, whether soccer fans like a commentator or not is completely subjective. Personally I think Schoen is the best US-born commentator in this country. Others will disagree.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  26. Jenna says:

    This topic has exploded, apparently. I’m no Eurosnob but honestly ESPN’s decision really doesn’t bother me. Perhaps I’m stil scarred by the commentary of O’Brien and Balboa in 2006. While I’m sure Dellacamera is a nice man and I appreciate all he’s done for soccer in the United States, I just don’t think he’s up to snuff for the World Cup. During the Confederations Cup this summer I remember being bored to death by Dellacamera and Harkes who, as was mentioned before, over-complicate and over-analyze the game. I fear that someone who is uninterested in soccer and is just tuning in to the World Cup will reaffirm their false stereotypes into thinking that the game is just boring if Dellacamera is commentating.

    I agree with the Gaffer wholeheartedly on Schoene though. He’s a wonderful commentator on GolTV and doesn’t feel the need to fill up airtime with pointless drivel. ESPN should have approached him but perhaps there are things that we don’t know…

  27. H_M says:

    No offense, but Martin Tyler is a bore and I have observed on Champions League he knows very little about the teams playing against English teams.

    Darke? He did previous World Cups for ESPN in the US, so his addition is no surprise. He just never called the US games. I assume the US games will be called by Healy or Rae.

    If they must go English, where is John Championship? He knows more about the world game, but the best is still Motty. Now that is a true professional that would unite Americans fans because of his wit and hard edged opinions. Richard Keyes is also very good. I prefer him to Tyler. Put Ray Stubbs in the studio. He will be much better than Bob Ley or Mike Tirico.

    I think ESPN did the right thing going all British for the broadcasts but have picked the wrong ones.

  28. Silverback says:

    H_M……do you mean Jon Champion ? He already works for ESPN and was a good commentator in his early days with BBC Radio Leeds…..my local station

    I don’t agree with your assessment of Motty though but then his ‘qualities’ have always divided fans. He’s old school and relies too much on statistics and quite ridiculous links between players and their records. It’s often obvious that he feels a need to get them all said during a game no matter how obscure or irrelevant they may be at the time. By the 89th minute you can hear the panic in his voice if he has a few left to be said !

    • SSReporters says:

      Motty retired from live games. He’s only doing highlights on Match of the Day for the PL. Guy Mowbray is commentating as the new #1. You’ll hear Mowbray on FA Cup world feeds.

  29. Seybold says:

    I agree with Gaffer, there really should be an American–my reaction to the 4 Brits is that it will pigeonhole soccer as “foreign.” Like it or not this is the best opportunity we get to promote the game, and it needs an American voice. I’m aghast they didn’t hire Schoen, he’s easily good enough, better than several of the Brit announcers they have on FSN for the Wigan-Bolton type matches.

    That said, just about every other USA announcer sucks. When I listen to basketball, football, baseball and hockey announcers they all know more than I do. When I hear USA soccer announcers my usual reaction is “they don’t know what they’re talking about.” Harkes obviously does, but he doesn’t relate it well, and misses so many obvious things it’s appalling. So I have no problem with 3 Brits…but 4 of 4 is too many.

    • Lloyd says:

      Seybold – John Harkes is doing Commentary with Martin Tyler for the US games….but you probably already know that by now, yeah? :-)

  30. Seybold says:

    One other thing: it’s unacceptable to have an English announcer for the USA-England match (and how many people can tell Rae is Scottish by accent? I certainly can’t and I hear tons of English soccer broadcasts).

    The turnoff factor would be huge for non-soccer fans, and Gaffer’s points would be magnified even further. Do I have to watch on Univision to hear an American call the USA-England match?

    • Lloyd says:

      “and how many people can tell Rae is Scottish by accent?”

      Someone who has actually listened carefully to both and understands the difference, that’s who. Just because you have chosen not to do so, doesn’t mean the rest of the world has followed suit. I can tell you LOADS of people can tell the Derrick Rae is Scottish FFS

  31. Brian says:

    What is people’s obsession with nationality, for crying out loud. What I want in an announcer is simple: someone who enhances, not detracts from, the game on the field. With the possible exception of Glenn Davis, I can’t think of one American play-by-play announcer who outright enhances the telecast. We’ve spent the last two World Cups whining about “Mine eyes have seen the glory” and the “offensive sector.” I just want guys who know the game and know how to call a game (ie: know when to shut up). I don’t care what passport they hold.

    • This One Guy In Detroit says:

      People’s obsession with nationality is the fact that this is the World Cup.

      Did you notice that it’s a competition among NATIONS? Did you notice that the competitors are called “NATIONAL teams”?

      Sorry, but outside one’s personal view on the merits of JP, Harkes, etc., it’s really obtuse not to understand the role of nationality in a discussion about the World F’ing Cup.

    • Skill4Ever says:

      Really, then how about getting a Brazilians (5 Times World Champions)or an
      Italians (4 Times World Champions) and how about Germans (3 Times World Champions) Get the point, do you see the very best on ESPN, NO DAM WAY, we get the most biased, crudest, british brainwashing Codcrap (BBC)
      Who happen to be dead last in soccer.
      So you see its not about getting the very best, its about getting the worst.

      • Lloyd says:

        All I can say is WOW! How do you expect viewers in the US on an English speaking Network to understand commentators from Brazil (Portuguese), Germany (German), or Italy (Italian)? Really, dude…..I’m mean, Really…..REALLY!!!!

        • Skill4Ever says:

          Really! Anyone but the Dead Last British, No one can understand anything the Brits say? Not even the Brits, cause they are all so Crude and Biased plus they all need to brush their teeth.

          There are Millions of Brazilian (5 Time World Champ) and
          there are Millions of Italians (4 Times World Champs) and
          Millions of Germans (3 Times World Champs) all who can speak Million times better then ANY Dirt bag Brit Any day anywhere. Really!!!

          Anyway the self Over-rated England should be packing there bags very early in the World Cup and will be watching the rest of the World Cup from jolly mold England. And WILL play in the next round.
          Ta ta England! What a Bunch of Losers! Get it? LOSERS. LOL!!!

  32. David says:

    I guess this may come as a surprise to folks, but ESPN actually test markets a lot of these things with focus groups, etc. before making hiring decisions on high priced announcers, etc.

    And ESPN is desperate to get more EPL games. Why? Because they’re smart and successful at bringing products to the marketplace that consumers want. Soccer fans, whether American, English, Chinese, or Nigerian, love watching superstars playing for legendary teams play for major trophies. How can a soccer fan complain about that?

    Americans love basketball, but put Croatian Basketball League games on TV in the States and they wouldn’t get the same ratings as the NBA.

  33. Brian says:

    So we spend two WC cycles bitching and moaning about terrible American announcers like Edwards, Whine-alda, Balboa and O’Brien. So what does ESPN do? They go out and get four top quality announcers. But because they happen to have accents, they are unacceptable. We must have crappy American announcers (there only being one good play-by-play American). We slam them when they give us crap. And we slam them when the give us quality. Let’s all write ESPN because they don’t think soccer fans are unhinged enough as it is. Great plan!

  34. Scot says:

    95% of the viewing public in the US will not care one iota about the nationality of the announcers at the World Cup.

    • The Gaffer says:

      Scot, what evidence do you have to prove this?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • Lloyd says:

        Gaffer, what evidence do you have to disprove this…come on mate; as a blogger I would at least expect you to rebuttal with a more informative comment than that. Something like, “Well Scott according to it appears there is evidence to the contrary.” Or something to that effect.

        BTW – I disagree with your opinion on this subject and I welcome the knowledgeable, experienced commentating I would expect from “The World Leader In Sports”

    • Read all the post on this blog says:

      LOL! according to the response on this blog alone, its seems 100% of Americans DO CARE about the nationality of the announcers at the World Cup. And 100% of the Brits only want to hear a Brit, even thou thou love living in the US. Go Figure!

      • The Gaffer says:

        Dude, I wrote the story. I’m British. I 100% want to hear one American lead commentator on ESPN’s TV broadcasts.

        Cheers,
        The Gaffer

  35. sergio lima says:

    Brilliant. Coming from a British is like a slap in my face after my last comment, but you nailed in the head. Perfect.

  36. PhilaDallas says:

    I have to agree. I understand that Harkes is a color commentator, but if there is one American to get rid of it is him. I have always enjoyed JP’s coverage. I have never ever enjoyed Harkes’ color.

  37. Rex says:

    I want an American on the color for the USA or Mexico games. I want someone who actually knows about MLS and the North American game (and btw that might rule out Harkes too).

  38. Rick James says:

    I’m glad ESPN selected english commentators. I don’t understand why any of you are upset over this. American commentators are sooooooooooooo boring, they are so boring I would practically fall asleep even if its the most exciting game of the world cup. (and that is impossible). They commentate it as if its basketball or football. Don’t get me wrong, i love the sport and i am glad that us as Americans are finally catching up to the biggest and (best sport) in the world. I really think the American commentators should make the game more exciting with their commentary not slower and boring. For example I find Mexican commentators to be more exciting haha and that considering I dont understand a word of Spanish.

    • Rich says:

      You are Shamefully Stupid! You must be English or an Anglophile.
      If you love the English so much, what the hell are you doing in US?
      FYI: The English HATE all Americans more then anything else, they HATE Everything American! Just a reminder before you land and get your A$$ kick, you won’t last a day in boring old England.

      • Lloyd says:

        4 things: First, why so xenophobic? Are you unable to open yourself up to some different than your norm? Second, How do you know the poster is in the US? It must be a reflection of your xenophobia (everything must be American). Thirdly, you are completely wrong about the English hating America; if that was so The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, and most English Rock and Roll bands wouldn’t exist; and that’s just a slice of the argument against your rhetoric. Fourthly, what does that last sentence even mean?

        Lose the anger bro and open your heart; you might find a little joy left down there somewhere.

  39. Daniel Feuerstein says:

    Brian: Jack Edwards was not a great announcer, he was decent. I admit that I cringed when he said “The Land of the Free & the Home of the Brave are now in the round of 8″. We are not saying that he should come back. But honestly JP Dellacamera is closer as a real play-by-play man for the game, than anyone else. In fact Glen Davis and JP are the best at what they do.

    Those of you who assumes JP Dellacamera doesn’t allow the game to breath, I can tell all of you that you’re thinking is wrong. This man is the best in the business & he is close to being an English announcer than anyone else I have heard from ESPN or FSC right now. If you had the MSG Network coverage of RBNY Vs. Santos FC to open Red Bull Arena, he did a fine job.

    The Euro Snobs problems are simple JP Dellacamera didn’t come from the other side of the pond, he was born here. A Massachusetts native calling the game like a Brit.

    • short passes says:

      I am USA born and bred and have followed the MLS religiously since its inception and I didn’t need the recent bruhaha about ESPN’s selection of an all-Brit announcing staff to know that as a group, they are generally terrible!! They talk too much, their commentary isn’t pertinent, and they consistently misrepresent plays and referee calls. In addition they don’t have the guts to actually call a mistake a mistake — terrible passes become great defense.
      Also, your absolute arrogance in making a comment like, “I can tell all of you that your thinking is wrong.” is insulting to an audience that I’m sure includes your equals and in most cases your superiors.

  40. Rich says:

    The whole World can’t wait and is really looking forward to the World Cup to Start in South Africa!
    That’s the good news, the bad news is in the USA the TV Network ESPN (English Soccer Propaganda Network) will be covering the whole world cup with only non-American Commentators.
    ESPN has fired and replaced all their AMERICAN Commentators with the very crude American hating English. which means that all the opportunities which come to every country with the World Cup will not be given to any Americans in America. ITS VERY SHAMEFUL!
    So I suggest we BOYCOTT ALL ESPN like they are boycotting all the Americans in America and we should watch the whole World Cup on Univision, which is a free channel on UHF.
    Please inform ALL your friend and Family to “BOYCOTT ESPN!” for Racism against ALL Americans!

  41. Rich says:

    Please call ESPN (English Soccer Propaganda Network)
    Customer Care can be reached at 1-888-549-3776 and
    please let them know that will be boycotting ESPN and watching Univision. Good luck!

    • sucka99 says:

      I already boycott ESPN, because they hire people like Chris Berman, Matt Millen and Tommy Smyth. And Jay Mariotti. And they managed to turn Ron Jaworski into a bitter old stick-in-the-mud. And they bleep the word “ass.” And they protect certain athletes and aren’t down the middle with their coverage.

  42. Barry says:

    Anyone who wants US commentary has likely never watched a game with real world class commentators. I’ve spoken to so may people already letting them know how much better the games will be to watch when true experts of the game are calling the action. I try to watch MLS games & part of whats not good (never mind the play on the field) is the commentary. The words/verbage they use is what you would expect listening to an amateur…quite frankly they’re terrible!! OK…so they know the players on the US team perhaps a little better player for player, but that doesn’t change the fact they truly don’t know the game & have a lack of passion. Yes…Univision has the most passion (WHEN THEY SCORE) but other that that I don’t understand a word they say. I would implore anyone on the fence to give it a go & I’m sure you’ll be happy with what you here.

    • Rich says:

      Anyone who wants US commentary has likely never watched a game with real world class commentators. Oh Really?
      First I bet you are a arrogant Brit or an Anglophile.
      So just how many other countries commentators have you heard?
      I Bet None, except the (BBC) British Boring Crap or is it Britsh Bootball Crap, either way its all crap. The Brits are the most crudest Bais commentators on the planet.
      If you want class, you don’t go to the DEAD LAST soccer country on the Planet, you go the Winners! Like 5 Times World Champions Brazil or how about 4 Time World Champions Italy or Germany or Argentina.
      Go look it up on FIFA website and see just how many World Cups at any level or any age group has any British National team won?
      The answer is only once and that was in England over 44 years ago.
      The Britsh really really Hate with passion Everthing or anything American, that’s a Fact! Its just pure Jeliousy and envy.

  43. Barry says:

    Anyone who wants US commentary has likely never watched a game with real world class commentators. I’ve spoken to so may people already letting them know how much better the games will be to watch when true experts of the game are calling the action. I try to watch MLS games & part of whats not good (never mind the play on the field) is the commentary. The words/verbage they use is what you would expect listening to an amateur…quite frankly they’re terrible!! OK…so they know the players on the US team perhaps a little better player for player, but that doesn’t change the fact they truly don’t know the game & have a lack of passion. Yes…Univision has the most passion (WHEN THEY SCORE) but other that that I don’t understand a word they say. I would implore anyone on the fence to give it a go & I’m sure you’ll be happy with what you hear.

  44. Damon says:

    I think the argument that an American team of commentators is a sound one for gaining more Football viewers. But ultimately, the U.S commentators are crap, so I think for now it’s the best way to go with the most important sporting event on the planet.
    I have lived in the states for over ten years and I love this country and hope to god MLS does well and thrives.
    Oh and @ Rich, your whole post was not only an indicator of your small brain capacity, but is a clear answer to anyone, anywhere who ever asks…”why do people hate Americans so much?” (you can google that question, it’s very popular…sadly)
    What does WORLD CUP wins have to do with a countries domestic league quality? Go and watch NFL, eat cheeto’s and gain more plaque in your arteries.

  45. Tito says:

    I understand that you want to have a bigger appeal to the mainstream. However, the mainstream doesn’t know what good soccer announcing consists of. I understand that the accents are easier to understand, but the mainstream doesn’t understand soccer in the first place. I agree that some of the announcers should be American for the U.S. audience, if they were actually good. What good is an American announcer if he/she is second rate? It is like having multi-national referees instead of the BEST referees in the 2002 World Cup. We saw what happened to Italy and Spain because of it. I understand that JP may have a greater understanding of the players here in the U.S. and that mainstream viewers may be interested in what size shoe Landon Donovan wears. Why not just hire Bob Costas and completely ruin my life while you’re at it? The commentators in this country can be groomed through MLS telecasts, not on the greatest stage that soccer has presented to us. As for the “World Cup Effect”, perhaps mainstream viewers will watch a soccer game for the commentary, but true fans watch a game for the actual product on the field. Excellent commentary is a wonderful complement to the game. There are plenty of UK commentators that aren’t very good either. ESPN has the money to get the best, so why not give us the best? I think what ESPN is saying to U.S. viewership when they’re giving preference to UK announcers is that they’re better than U.S. announcers. The first five points were valid, the sixth, not so much.

  46. Mike says:

    Both JP Dellacamera and Phil Schoen are bad. As a matter of fact I had never heard of Phil Schoen but I watched quite a lot of La Liga on GOL TV this season and I kept laughing and wondering who the really bad (American) commentator was.
    Sorry, but this World Cup is NOT going to make a casual American viewer into a soccer follower and dumbing down the commentary to try and achieve this goal is quite pointless and very annoying. During the last World Cup I often switched to Univision just to get away from the awful commentary on ABC.
    I can well recall that when the US played the Czech Republic we were constantly “informed” during the game that Shivchenko was married to an American model. Seriously, who really cares?

  47. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Well I’m looking forward in seeing what FOX presents in the Championshipi game tommorow in Madrid. Then see the US England Game but at a bar so ill probably look again on. Espn 3 but still it doesn’t. Duspute the fact whoever that producer from ESPN responsible for bring in Euro snob team to the booths

    • SSReporters says:

      Gosh you’re thick.

      How hard it it to say Martin Tyler is much better than JP?

      John Harkes is going to be the analyst for US/England so enjoy your Eurosnob broadcast.

      • DCUDiplomat96 says:

        Well alot of people do.. Its a shame ESPN wants to help get soccer to a fotting but not the american audience. Plus its a shame that JP is being put to the curb. as for quality of broadcaster, sorry Martin ins not entertaining, he is plain null and boring, no better than some jerk golfer annoucer.

        • SSReporters says:

          Tyler is not at his best since he’s getting older, but this is not boring to me.

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=46tHF_dZfcg

          You’re going to like Ian Darke. He’s like Kevin Harlan but older. Tyler and all these guys know more about soccer than JP could dream of. I thought about this for a while and realize I don’t care who is commentating on our networks as long as they are competent. JP is hit and miss…the miss part usually happens when dealt with an idiot like Harkes.

          • DCUDiplomat96 says:

            Bruh these guys hardly said any thing . Especially after the goal was scored. Sorry you failed to convince me other wise british domestic broadcasters are boring. Ray hudson is one of the few exceptions because he has a better understand of the american sports fans unlike the othe brit guys. As for jon Harkes he need to stop trying to be british . I’m sorry british sports guys aren’t exciting as american ones

          • SSReporters says:

            That’s the point. You don’t need 50 words to describe something that can be said in 5. American announcers talk too much. I hate Ray Hudson because he’s an obnoxious imbecile who sounds like a drunk guy at the pub and not a professional analyst.

            Harkes sucks for other reasons…

  48. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Some of y’all guys that favor boring british broadcaster is probably because y’all eurosnobs and don’t want soccer to have and develop thru american culture. There is no arguement tat this british guys are boring and the network management again fails to figure out why soccer is not getting mainstream attention.

  49. Yanks are shite says:

    Yank broadcasters are bollocks. They know nothing of the game. Absolute imbeciles.

  50. British Boring Codcrap (BBC) says:

    Yet again, in the USA . in a USA Game, we all had to put up with very crude British accent and all their Propaganda and non-stop brainwashing, even thou the brits had nothing at all do with anything in this game, we are forced to hear the following crap in everygame: Liverpool, Stoke, Liverpool, Chelsea, United, blag blag blag, how arrogant of the British morons to keep trying to brainwash the whole US soccer fans with crap., Its all very sick!

    We must Boycott ESPN like they are Boycotting American commentators!
    What a SHAME that the very biased and Crude British/Australian 100% run FUX Network, The FUX Soccer Channel, and all Soccer on ESPN (English Soccer Propaganda Network).

    ESPN has laid-off all their American commentator for the World Cup in June 2010 in South Africa and REPLACED them ALL with the very Crude SCABS from the UK.
    I guess we will have to watch all the games on univision.
    (Its high Time to BOYCOTT ESPN).

    Think about it, USA will be playing in the World Cup and all the media JOB Opportunities have been given to the dead last in football, the British.

    With all the Daily British Brainwashing Crap (BBC) and all their daily British Propaganda on SKY, FUX Soccer, Yahoo and ESPN: SO just how long ago did England win anything, well over 44 years ago in 1966, but even in 1966, it was a very disputed world cup, lots of cheating with refs for England and even in the Final, England got a goal which NEVER cross the goal line.

    Here is the list of Championships ENGLAND has NEVER EVER, let me repeat,
    NEVER EVER WON:

    European Nations Championships.
    FIFA Confederations Cup.
    FIFA U-20 World Cup,
    FIFA U-19 World Cup,
    FIFA U-17 World Cup,
    Olympics Football,
    FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup.
    Futsal World Cup.

    I could go on, but you get the point.
    WOW all the daily propaganda and nothing to show for it for over 44 years.

    PS: Again the only time England has ever played the USA in the world Cup. USA WON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Just so no one forgets, In the World Cup, USA has a 100% winning record against England. YES 100%.
    Can’t get better then that. And even if England get lucky against the US, the record will still be 1-1. LOL!
    I rest my Case.
    Replies (4)

    • SSReporters says:

      I know you’re an idiot and all…but what does this have to do with commentary?

      You never answer the question. Pssstttt….the US has never won any of those things in modern time either.

  51. Peter says:

    Some strong words, and while agree whole heartedly with the American sentiment, that the US should have a talented soccer crew, the overlying consensus is that you don’t– well not yet. I really think it’s plagerism which will get you a good commentator– but instead you have “fumbled” with this idea of giving a story on a footballer, his family, his pets, how he became a pro– all this bs, which I think is ok, but you get damn tired of it– as it’s the same old stuff from the Olympics– just filler as there isn’t enough experience to talk about tactics, history, what-ifs, and most of all try to make it funny– there’s a light-hearted side also… I don’t see any characters in the US cockpit– just the sterotypes– you have to change that sports is serious stuff. Ok, JP is I have to admit is decent, but I doubt he’ll want to work with Brits, and we shouldn’t forget he’s made many mistakes in the past, and to coin a phrase, he’s been benched because of it. I watch MLS, and have seen the [many] gaffs, and comedy of errors, [hey there is comedy-- lol] but I guess Americans are not really bothered with professionalism in soccer– they just want an American accent? I remember in the last world cup, all the US newspapers and sporting commentators stating that “if” the US soccer team had all the best athletes playing for it then it would definately win the world cup– now that is where we are with American knowledge of the game– but then again if it’s not American it’s not worth knowing now is it?

  52. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    I finally managed to get to catch the Broadcast of the saturday game(USA-AUS), just as I thought, Tyler remained being in his boring monofoned deliver, the crowd and buzzing horns was louder than him, i guess you can count that as a bleesing. John harkes did what he could to fil in the Gaps that Tyler often leaves, but even on a typical day Harkes, still only stood out was his voice sounded louder above the buzzing, and much clearer. I also felt that Martin wasnt catching up with the fast paced production with his delivery. Ofcourse the main reason Tyler is doing the telecast is for polictical reason, im sure the person responsible for bring him in along with the rest of the eurocentric broadcast team, is a euro posing ignorant fool. But again, I rest my case because sooner or later tyler would be the butt of jokes on the sports talk radio circut in the next couple weeks

    • SSReporters says:

      Sorry you don’t have yelling imbeciles to keep you entertained like Max Bretos.

      Tyler was off yesterday but he lets the game breathe. Don’t confuse not talking with boring.

    • sucka99 says:

      I think the word you’re looking for is monotone. Or maybe monophonic, but I’m not sure that fits in context.

  53. DCUDiplomat96 says:

    Martin Tyler is Never ON LOLOLOL that dude is a sleeping pill with a british accent. Sorry but Tyler is a Joke. yall suckas for british type media guys are lack good tatse.

  54. Michael says:

    One of these English “experts” just announced that the referees were wrong in calling a goal as offsides because there was one South African defender between the offside Mexican player and the goal line. What idiots ESPN is hiring. If I’m going to listen to British announcers, I might as well watch on BBC and get some decent coverage.

    • Lloyd says:

      Efan Ekoku did get that call wrong. However, Martin Tyler was professional enough to wean him off his rhetoric in a manner where the focus of the commentary remained on the run of play. Just saying…

  55. short passes says:

    Sorry my xenophobic friends but the Brit announcing staff is already a success. The commentary was perfect pitch — just enough to inform and not too much so as to distract. Also, Michael, I don’t think you want to get into a game of comparing stupid comments between the Brits and the US since that is one area where the US announcers are definitely world-class. Dellacamera is the Messi of poor announcing.
    BTW—I’m not a Brit, am a big Chicago Fire fan, and live in St. Louis.
    Go USMNT

  56. Peter says:

    Not too sure why all this angst has been raised about Americans not liking Brits or vice-versa, and how that’s attached itself to this commentary — fiasco. If you really want to criticise, point your [collective] finger at the [ESPN] management– they’re ones who perpitrated this, but am I not alone in saying that it’s swings and round-a-bouts…ooops turn-outs? –Next World Cup will be different, hey– maybe you can have Andres Cantor back again– remember that Mr. America, when you actually had a guy commentating for ESPN who couldnt speak english…lol?!! You got hm just for the goooooaaaaaall!! Now I dont know much about how your management works, but it’s fair to say that at least you havent gone backwards…yet. As for this Brits hate Yanks, or vice versa, hey we’re all in the same boat, we all have the same ideals, just get over this little hump and enjoy what we have together– we’re in the minority now don’t forget– a dying breed.

  57. Brian says:

    Much ado about nothing as US soccer fandom is so good at… I’ve heard lots of non-soccer fans (or at least non-junkies) comment about the World Cup and I watched the US-England game with about 40 other junkies… but I haven’t a single one even mention the nationality of the announcers, let alone complain about them.

  58. Brian says:

    JP talks wayyyyyyy too much for television but that dynamic is perfect for the radio.

  59. sinclair wood says:

    Glad there are so many British commentators this time. In 2006 I turned to the Spanish-speaking channel because the commentators kept interfering with the flow of the game by saying what “should” be happening rather than what “was” happening. Brilliant decision ESPN. I’m really enjoying the commentary this time. It’s informed and funny.

  60. The King says:

    The British announcers have been nothing short of excellent. Ever watch an MLS game where the announcers seem to lose focus and begin talking about baseball and other current events? Seems like many of them are biding time until they can get that big break on the baseball side. Leave it the way it is. I’ve been watching many of the games, I understand everything they are saying. And face it, it would take months and months for American announcers to be able to cram an ounce of what Tyler, Darke and other Brits know about the insight of the players on the pitch for most international teams. The dialogue I’m hearing is relevant and coherent. Just thinking about the MLS announcing teams trying to do this job makes me sick. God, the long pauses and irrelevant banter. Thank God these Brits are in place.

    • short passes says:

      Totally agree except for Ally McCoist (sp.) He’s not on the same level as the others –much closer to Delacamera !!!

  61. Doug-H says:

    So enjoy the British commentary… They tell it like it is and don’t talk down to the American audience…

  62. Skill4Ever says:

    Is it true that England has NEVER EVER beaten the US in a World Cup game?
    I mean, NEVER EVER? Really? WOW!
    Then maybe it should be the American commentators who should go to England and cover the whole World Cup.
    At least the Americans speak much more clearly then any Crude Brit and will not spend most of the time talking crap and trying to spread Self Over-Rated British Boot ball Propaganda. With all the propaganda how come England is still DEAD LAST in Football on the planet.
    GO Team USA! Not bad for part-timers.

  63. Steve says:

    I am English and a permanent resident in the US. I agree with those of you complaining about the balance of commentators. JP should have been used for US and CONCACAF countries. The British broadcasters know a lot about European football and are better for games involving European teams. A freelancer should have been brought in to cover South American countries. The same goes for the choice of summarizers in the commentary booth. John Harkes is the only American voice and is Ally McCoist supposed to be the natural progression from Tommy Smyth in terms of comprehensibility?

    • Brian says:

      They should’ve at least used American analysts, like Kyle Martino and Shep Messing (who are both doing ESPN Radio). They’re decent and certainly no worse than Ally “the last thing they want now is an injury” McCoist and the muppet who screamed his ignorance of the offside rule in the South Africa-Mexico match.

  64. KR says:

    John Harkes is there now. But the dumb comments of and in general just a dumb sport tv culture where the rest of the world is ignored continues to produce the next generation of dumb americans who don’t know that there is a world outside the usa. The americans cannot hold a conversation about anything that is not american. Well done, keep making your own people dumber.

  65. Supertoe says:

    I agree that the US needs a legitimate commentator. I think the move to bring in European soccer commentators with profession soccer experience was a good move. The bigger immediate problem though is the ESPN American hosts, Mike Terico and Bib Ley, who are obviously not soccer fans and lack any understanding of international culture. It’s sad since this is ESPN who is failing to provide coverage of a global event. Bob Ley is especially annoying – he lacks the understanding of the sport and soccer “lingo” which makes ESPN look foolish. He is as uninteresting as Bob Costas! The funniest thing about Mike Terico and Bob Fey is their appearance. These guys are such non-athletic looking idiots – I doubt these guys have ever played a sport in their lives. They also are so un-cool. ESPN needs to at least get a stylist who understands global fashion trends. These jamokes look like they should be hosting the local news in no-where Idaho or shopping at Walmart. Yo suck ESPN – grow some fuckin soccer balks. You are ruining it for everyone who wants to see real soccer!

  66. Idiots says:

    Are you people stupid. If you want a prime example of shitty commentating, turn on the TV and listen to the U.S., Ghana game. Who ever it is with the american accent is talking like the game hasn’t begun. He focuses on the U.S. team and hardly mentions Ghana’s players. Say a ghana player has an amazing dribble followed by a shot. Instead of complimenting the player drive, “Well this shows how the U.S. is still un-focused, if they want to win they need to play harder and open the field up” It sounds like he’s doing a pre-game show.

  67. Idiots says:

    oh btw i live in maryland (US)… the u.s. commentator has no clue who anyone is besides the american players. Im considering muting my tv right now so i dont have to hear this shit.

  68. Aaron R says:

    After listening to the British commentators and the one American commentator this world cup, I am so glad that ESPN got British voices. They are just so much more entertaining and informative with their commentaries that are also easy on the ear. The lone American just isn’t good enough. Good job, ESPN.

  69. As soon as America gets hold of something like soccer all of a
    sudden they are masters of it . Well the painful truth is they are
    far from it. As far as soccer commentators are concerned its the
    same thing. So I guess it depends on what standard you are at when
    complaining about commentators. Most people including myself cannot
    stand Dellacamera. Why ? Because his standard of play by play
    announcing is very low and doesn’t grasp the basic fundamentals of
    calling the game. Anybody can just call out players names when the
    ball is passed on to another. So in a nutshell I could say he just
    winging it and has done since he started on tv.

    • Charles says:

      You should have stopped at your first sentence, after that you
      started to stereotype and sounded like a bitter bigot.

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