The growth in soccer in America has coincided with an explosion of blogs and podcasts covering the game. As an avid podcast producer and podcast listener myself, I have curated a list of my favorite 10 soccer podcasts. A few caveats—
This is a list of general soccer podcasts, not club-specific podcasts.
In order to rank the podcasts, I ranked each podcast according to various categories. The sum of those ranked scores determined the final position of the podcast.
Some of these are call-in shows and TV shows, but most people listen to them as podcasts. Lastly, while positions 4, 5; 7, 8 as well as 9, 10 were tied on points, I used my subjective personal preference to pick the higher ranked one.
10. The Game podcast
Gab Marcotti as host is incredible. He forces his oft-changing panel (Alyson Rudd, James Scowcraft, etc.) to go into areas no one else is discussing; for example, their recent discussion on the failings of Wayne Rooney being a result of confirmation bias versus anything statistically substantial. While the analysis is terrific, it can occasionally be a little dry. Definitely a good podcast for hardcore soccer fans. This podcast goes live on Sundays.
9. Champions League podcast
This is a new pod from BT Sport, but has tremendous potential. The likes of Rio Ferdinand, Paul Scholes, Owen Hargreaves and Harry Redknapp are current and future guests on the show. What is fascinating about this podcast is that, given it is a panel made of ex-players and managers; you get player psychology, as opposed to much tactical conversation. Therefore, you are likely to hear a player’s perspective on off-field and on-field events that may be occurring at a club. This makes the Champions League Podcast a unique listen particularly for Manchester United supporters such as myself. This podcast goes lives on Thursdays after Champions League games.
8. The Gary Neville podcast
Gary Neville’s tactical analysis is unparalleled. While this podcast is only about 15 minutes long, and usually covers one or two games, it is a must-listen. This is the closest we have to Sky Sports’ Monday Night Football. This podcast goes live on Sundays.
7. Men in Blazers
If your 16-year-old cousin comes up to you, having just got into soccer, and he asks – “Hey man, what’s a good soccer podcast to listen to?” – MIB is your best bet. Rog and Davo are entertaining and appeal to many newer fans of the game. While Grantland has met its demise, MIB have grown from strength to strength and are incredibly good at interviewing players and managers with an empathy and self-deprecation that is Marc Maron-esque. While this might not be the podcast for hardcore analysis, fans of USMNT and USWNT would enjoy this podcast simply because of the number of players that have been featured. A highlight would be the episode where the duo interviewed Meghan Klingenberg.
6. The 2 Robbies Show
A call-in show and a standalone podcast, you get some terrific analysis from Robbie Mustoe and Robbie Earle (and occasionally, from stand-in host, Kyle Martino). Robbie Mustoe is, in my opinion, currently among the best soccer TV pundit on American TV. The 2 Robbies Show is the best call-in show stateside and is increasing rapidly in listenership. While they dive into tactical areas, my favorite moments start with Mustoe asking Earle – “When you were a player, would you… “ (or vice-versa) – giving us a look into the psychology of professional footballers. The call-in show goes live on Sundays, whereas the stand-alone podcast goes live midweek.
5. The Football Ramble
Undoubtedly the funniest podcast on this list. The chemistry between the crew in undeniable and there’s definitely a feeling of “eavesdropping on friends talking about football”. They were recently added to a growing list of soccer programming on Sirius XM, and it is much deserved. I once described this podcast to a friend as “The Ricky Gervais Show” of football podcasts. It is entertaining, silly, irreverent, and yet Pete Donaldson might suddenly drop a Rene Descartes reference thrown in there; possibly while discussing Alan Pardew. Which one of the foursome is Karl Pilkington you ask? You’ll have to listen-in and decide for yourself. This podcast is usually available Sunday mornings.
4. World Soccer Talk
The boys are back in town. The current iteration of the World Soccer Talk Podcast is terrific – Richard Farley’s pointed questions and desire to stray away from clichéd conversation, Kartik Krishnaiyer’s amazing eidetic memory and impassioned analysis meshes perfectly with Laurence McKenna’s skepticism and disdain for what the media is usually discussing. If you are one of the growing members of the soccer community who is tired of lazy analysis and silly overreactions, and roll your eyes at what is trending on Twitter, this is the podcast for you. It is the first podcast I turn to for analysis of the weekend’s games. This podcast goes live on Sunday nights.
3. ESPN FC podcast
ESPN FC is the first podcast I listen to each morning. The podcast discusses big stories, as well as games from various leagues – with a focus on the Premier League, UEFA Champions League and La Liga. The analysis reflects key moments in games, as well as examining larger issues permeating clubs – managers, ownerships, etc. But, there is an entertaining quality as well. And the entertainment comes courtesy of the unpredictable Craig Burley. Burley is as likely to make a poignant argument about the failings of Chelsea, as he is to take a ridiculous Fernando-Torres-related-bet resulting in him getting a tattoo (it was fake, but still). Finally, because of their attachment to the behemoth that is ESPN, you get interviews with big-name players and managers. Check out Shaka Hislop’s insightful interview of Jose Mourinho, as an example. This podcast goes live every morning.
2. Football Weekly
The breadth of conversation makes this a must-listen podcast. “AC Jimbo” and company use the traditional review/preview method, to facilitate conversation about various leagues across the world. Guests such as Sid Lowe and Iain Macintosh provide world-class analysis that warrants attention. Somehow, they occasionally squeeze in updates on the Indian Super League; which, this author finds flattering. Do yourself a favor, and go back and listen to their interviews from this summer. The “Football Weekly meets” set of interviews was incredibly well-produced as well as executed. In particular, listen to “The Half-time hero” from July 6th, 2015, to listen to an interview with a man who lived every football fan’s dream. This podcast goes live on Thursday and Monday mornings.
1. BBC Radio 5 live’s World Football Phone-in
Two words – Tim Vickery. There is nothing more enjoyable than hearing Tim Vickery discuss the sociopolitical issues in South American football. Each week, there is a revolving list of analysts who know the intricacies of the leagues in their regions. What you won’t get in this podcast is analysis of current games, but for people obsessed with obscure leagues, historical anecdotes and player profiles, there is no better way to spend your Saturday morning than to listen to this gem of a podcast. As a bonus, this year, host Dotun Adebayo gives updates on his nephew who is trying to break through as a professional footballer at Peterborough United. For hardcore soccer aficionados, this is the best way to start your weekend.
What about you? Do you agree/disagree with the list? Would you have added any other shows to the list? Have your say the comments section below.
Meanwhile, here are the scores for each of the 10 podcasts:
|4||World Soccer Talk||7||6||5||3||7||28|
|6||The 2 Robbies||8||3||4||5||5||25|
|7||Men in Blazers||1||9||3||6||2||21|