The moment has finally come. After so many years of loyalty to ESPN, J.P. Dellacamera has been shown the door after the World Wide Leader in Sports refused to pick up his option and decided to go a different route. While J.P. was the voice of soccer for ESPN, he announced many matches in the UEFA Champions League and US Women’s national team games, before finally getting the nod to call MLS games and US Men’s national team games. He was the voice of MLS and the USA, a real professional who showed his knowledge of the game both at home and abroad.
Unfortunately he wasn’t respected enough by the bigwigs of ESPN. No matter how many times J.P. showed so much loyalty to the network, they never really gave him the respect he truly deserved. Always being considered second fiddle during World Cup telecasts as the second pairing instead of the main one. When last year’s World Cup arrived you thought it couldn’t get any worse for Dellacamera, but it did when it was announced that he would be demoted to ESPN Radio’s coverage. So finally when push came to shove ESPN did not pick up the final option in the contract and let him go.
Fox Soccer Channel who re-upped MLS coverage for this year did the smart thing and signed Dellacamera who will be doing Friday night telecasts while still calling Philadelphia Union games on local television on Saturdays and possibly USA National Team games and the US Open Cup Final. If FSC wants to continue this partnership with Dellacamera and executes a multi-year contract extension with MLS to broadcast their games, I think FSC should do the right thing and make both deals happen.
So right now the next man in line to replace Dellacamera at ESPN to call MLS and US National team games is English born announcer Adrian Healey. Now before we get a bit off track here, let me say that I like Healey. I’ve met him in person; he calls a good match and has respect for MLS as he was once the announcer for New England Revolution. He will be a good fit for the games on the channel and I wish him all the best. Ian Darke is another Englishman that is one of my favorite announcers and if you remember the three World Cup matches for the USA, he actually catered to the audience of the “AMERICAN” network with some of those fantastic calls against Slovenia, Algeria and Ghana. But the finger of blame is being pointed at the bigwigs of ESPN.
Clearly they are listening to and becoming Euro snobs. Not every Englishman that is in the business of calling matches makes the game perfect. If ESPN has a problem with Americans calling a match, then they should stop broadcasting MLS matches and allow Versus a chance since they showed interest to make MLS the type of league it can be. It just gets so frustrating that the stupid negative is about how the game is being announced and none of these so called experts wants to come in and teach our Americans how to do it the right way.
You can point to me the failures and I will agree that a baseball announcer and a basketball announcer can’t call the game at all. I can name you a few that have been deserving. At least you had a man like Jack Edwards, while he was over the top at times, who wasn’t that bad at all. And the two men I would’ve thought ESPN would bring back are either Phil Schoen or Glenn Davis. Maybe Max Bretos deserves another shot by elevating him from ESPN News to calling MLS matches again? Sadly ESPN has failed the real fans of American soccer and failed to show their loyalty to J.P. Dellacamera who has deserved better.