Here at World Soccer Talk, we have taken the lead in identifying the next generation of television broadcasters who will be “driving the bandwagon” by connecting with new viewers in their own unique ways to continue to grow the American soccer community.
We first identified John Strong in March 2013 as the best homegrown play-by-play commentator who has dedicated himself to professional soccer at all levels as his first priority. Strong’s ability to incorporate elements from three different styles of commentary (British, American, and Latin American) into his own, plus his hard work and his dedication to improving his craft with each broadcast, has earned him respect among the viewers. FOX Sports executives Eric Shanks and John Entz made the correct decision to hire Strong in January 2015 as their primary soccer play-by-play announcer.
We recently identified CNN International World Sport anchor and correspondent Kate Riley as the odds-on favorite to win the studio host position for Turner Sports’ U.S. English-language coverage of the UEFA Champions League and UEFA Super Cup starting August 2018, likely to air on truTV. Fun, friendly, and informative, Riley has shown with her work for World Sport during the past year that she is mastering many of the skills and techniques that the most gifted broadcasters possess. In many ways, Riley reminds me of one of the best American sports television reporters of all time regardless of gender, legendary NFL Network and HBO Sports correspondent Andrea Kremer, when Kremer first started working at ESPN 28 years ago.
With the recent departure from ESPN of studio pundit and co-commentator Tommy Smyth, we have begun the process to identify the next great American soccer TV studio pundit. We are looking for someone who is fearless, outspoken, and controversial. We did not have to wait very long to identify him.
In a recent podcast at ESPNFC.com, ESPN personalities Max Bretos and Herculez Gomez interviewed U.S. Men’s National Team and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Jermaine Jones. The son of an American father and a German mother, this former Bundesliga “Bad Boy” was dubbed the “filthiest player in Germany” by German news television network n-tv before he moved stateside to make his living in Major League Soccer (MLS).
Because Jones has become the “Alexi Lalas” of the current generation of USMNT players in more ways then one, Jones will be the perfect studio pundit for any U.S. TV network if and when he decides to hang up his boots.