Across the patchwork quilt that is the American soccer landscape, one constant is evident — the prevalence of British talent. Connoisseurs of soccer cheer triumphantly at this fact. After all, the Brits invented the modern game. Among the numerous illuminati that can be found on our television sets, one exemplifies the soccer generation. Kay Murray of beIN SPORTS combines the wit, charm and fastidious intellect of the millennial generation.
A native of Middlesbrough, England, she came of age just as a new dawn of soccer was breaking. Introduced to soccer at an early age by her grandfather, she fell in love with the game during an iconic tournament.
“I fell in love with the game during Italia 90, when the England national team captured and broke my heart in the space of a few weeks,” she said.
This World Cup not only transformed English soccer, it planted the seeds for Murray’s career to later blossom. It also affected her fashion sense during those halcyon days.
“That same year, I went to a fancy dress party dressed as England goalkeeper Peter Shilton. I also wore the England replica tracksuit for my annual school photo,” she said.
It was truly love at first sight. William Shakespeare or Lord Byron could not have written her betrothment to soccer more eloquently.
Coming of age during the 1990s, she was exposed to the advent of Sky Sports. The UK network promoted female presenters from the start, and Murray took notice. As matriculation approached, she knew her profession would be in football. Initially she considered sports management but soon focused on football journalism. Print that is, the gold standard of the written word.
Her career began at the now defunct Boro TV, the official broadcast station of her beloved Middlesbrough. During her one season at the station, she co-produced and co-presented a live pre-match show. She gained valuable experience and an a knack for reporting. A move to London to study journalism became her next stop on her private soccer express.
“I just knew I wanted to work in football. I wouldn’t change my role now,” she said
While in London attending a private journalism university, she detoured from football when she became the on-air host for Bid Up TV. The channel was a popular “selly telly” program that aired on cable television seven days a week. In addition to paying her way through college, she gained valuable broadcast experience. The programs she presented were live and unscripted prompting her to learn quick thinking and agility in front of the camera. Her earpiece was open talk back thus while live on air she heard the director and the chaos of the control room. She credits this in helping prepare her for her swift rise through the television ranks.
“Let’s put it this way,” Murray said. “If you need someone to sell you a kettle, a set of fluffy towels or a fondue set convincingly, I’m your girl!”