Dave O’Brien, ESPN’s lead soccer commentator for World Cup 2006, says that the USA games in the 2014 World Cup should have been announced by an American voice, and that he’s envious of what FOX Sports is doing with Gus Johnson.
O’Brien, who was a trainwreck when he announced World Cup games in 2006, had this to say to The Berkshire Eagle newspaper this weekend:
“I think [FOX having Gus Johnson commentate in preparation for the World Cup] is a smart way to go. I think what they’re doing is a very smart move. I would have loved that. I’m envious of what they’re doing and what they’re doing for Gus.
“He has to be immersed in it. He has to be calling matches. He has to call big matches.”
In regards to having an American announcer,
“I sat there the other day and watched Tim Howard put on an incredible display of goalkeeping against Belgium and the name that kept popping into my head was [1980 Olympic goalie] Jim Craig. I never heard his name referenced on the broadcast.
“I think Ian Darke does an incredible job. He’s a great game caller, but he’s not from the United States. We do need an American perspective as our team gets better, as the national team gets better and advances. I would love to see, be it Gus or someone, take it and run with it.”
While O’Brien’s recommendation that an American voice commentate USA games is worthy, an American announcer shouldn’t announce a USA game just because he’s American. The selection should go to the most qualified person, not just an American voice. While Gus Johnson and Dave O’Brien have American voices, neither is qualified to be soccer announcers. There are far more alternatives out there of announcers who are American and are qualified than Johnson and O’Brien.