It’s been a busy week in the world of soccer broadcasting in the United States with several important announcements that will impact the viewing experience Stateside.
Geoff Cameron Joins NBCSN
U.S. Men’s National Team and Stoke City defender Geoff Cameron makes his NBC Sports Group debut on Sunday, Nov. 23, joining Arlo White in the booth to call the Crystal Palace v. Liverpool match at 8:30 a.m. ET on CNBC. Cameron will be in the booth one day after suiting up for Stoke City in their Saturday match against Burnley.
Cameron, a member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, made three appearances during the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. He began his professional career in 2008 after he was drafted by the Houston Dynamo in the MLS SuperDraft and spent four-and-a-half seasons with the club. In 2012, Cameron transferred to Stoke City, where he has made 76 Premier League appearances.
Brian McBride Leaving FOX Sports
According to Awful Announcing (and confirmed by FOX Sports), Brian McBride has decided to leave FOX Sports at the end of this year to pursue other interests.
While McBride got off to a rocky start as a pundit on FOX Soccer and then FOX Sports, he had improved considerably during the past six months — particularly on co-commentary alongside Ross Dyer.
ESPN Renews Taylor Twellman Contract for 8 Years
Taylor Twellman, ESPN’s lead soccer match analyst for Major League Soccer and the U.S. Men’s National Team, has agreed to an extension with ESPN through 2022, it was announced this week by senior coordinating producer Amy Rosenfeld.
Twellman, who has quickly emerged as one of the sport’s top analysts, will continue his dual role as a match and studio analyst for ESPN’s television and digital platforms. He will call USMNT and MLS matches and work studio and games during ESPN’s presentation of the UEFA European Football Championship 2016 in France. Twellman will also remain a primary analyst for ESPN FC on TV, the company’s daily soccer news and information program.
“Taylor’s vast knowledge of the game – both American and world football overall, coupled with his passion for the sport and his ability to seamlessly transition from the booth to the studio make him a producer’s dream,” said Rosenfeld, who oversees ESPN’s soccer production. “We are delighted he chose to remain with ESPN.”
Twellman joined ESPN in November 2011, barely a year after his career as one of Major League Soccer’s most-prolific goal-scorers was prematurely cut short due to multiple concussions. His fresh, off-the-field perspective has since established him as one the country’s leading analysts via his work on U.S. Men’s National Team matches during the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Twellman paired with acclaimed match commentator Ian Darke during the most-viewed soccer match ever on U.S. television – ESPN’s 2014 FIFA World Cup opening round telecast of USA vs. Portugal, seen by an average of 18,220,000 viewers in June. Twellman was also praised for his work in-studio during both UEFA EURO 2012 and on the “Last Call” set in Brazil this summer for his pointed analysis and candid remarks on head injuries and concussions in soccer.
“From Day 1 here at ESPN, I felt at home. I have been challenged, critiqued, and pushed to become a better broadcaster but more importantly I have enjoyed every second of it,” said Twellman. “I love the people I work with, the quality of programming and the sense of building a product together and ESPN’s commitment to soccer is long-standing and ultimately a great fit. I can’t wait for the next eight years”
Twellman played eight professional seasons for Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution where his scoring – 101 career goals – helped lead the team to its most-successful era from 2002-07. With Twellman at forward, the Revs played in four MLS Cups (2002, 2005, 2006 and 2007), two MLS Eastern Conference Finals (2003 and 2004), won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2004 and the North American SuperLiga in 2008.
Twellman also played three seasons (1999-2002) with German Bundesliga club 1860 Munich.
Since his career-ending injury, Twellman has dedicated himself to raising awareness about the dangers of concussions and head injuries, particularly in soccer, through the THINKTAYLOR Foundation. He has become a sought-after speaker and international advocate for concussion awareness in sports.
FOX Announces Women’s World Cup Draw Details
The Official Draw of FIFA Women’s World Cup Canada 2015, which determines the quadrennial tournament’s Group Stage configuration, is being held at the Canadian Museum of History in Ottawa early next month, and FOX Sports is planning unprecedented live coverage.
The Draw Show, with extensive coverage and analysis originating from the FOX Network Center in Los Angeles and on-site in Ottawa, airs Saturday, Dec. 6 at 12:00 PM ET on FOX Sports 1. This is the first time since 1999 that the Official Draw of FIFA Women’s World Cup is being televised in English in the United States. Rob Stone anchors FOX Sports 1’s hour-long coverage from Los Angeles and Kate Abdo hosts live from the Draw in Ottawa, along with analysis from a trio of former national team players. Expanded coverage, with additional post-draw analysis, continues for thirty minutes more on FOX Sports 2 and FOX Sports GO.
Abdo, an acclaimed British journalist who worked at CNN and Sky Deutschland before joining Sky Sports in the UK, guides FOX Sports’ coverage from Ottawa. Joining the coverage are Heather Mitts, a retired USWNT defender and three-time Olympic Gold medalist; Ariane Hingst, a two-time World Cup Champion with Germany; Kelly Smith, the England Women’s National Team’s all-time leading goal scorer; and Tony DiCicco, head coach of the legendary 1999 USWNT, the second American squad crowned FIFA Women’s World Cup champions. FOX Sports soccer insider and Sports Illustrated senior columnist Grant Wahl provides analysis of the group and gets reaction post-draw from USWNT head coach Jill Ellis in Canada. Hingst, Smith and Abdo make their FOX Sports debuts.
Hingst brings impressive credentials from the field to the television screen. As the youngest player on Germany’s 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, she started all the team’s matches and scored a goal. She again started every match as Germany won the FIFA Women’s World Cup 2003. Germany successfully defended their title in 2007, with Hingst anchoring a defense that did not allow a single goal the entire tournament.
Arguably the greatest women’s soccer player in England’s history, Smith played collegiate soccer at Seton Hall and spent considerable time in the U.S. pro leagues before heading back across the pond two years ago to play with the Arsenal Ladies Football Club. She has competed in three UEFA Women’s Championships, two FIFA Women’s World Cups and one Olympics.
The USWNT is among the 24 teams, including host Canada, to learn its fate in the Draw as nations are placed into six groups of four teams each. In addition to the U.S. and Canada (CONCACAF), the qualified teams are: Cameroon, Ivory Coast and Nigeria (Africa); Australia, China PR, Japan, Korea Republic and Thailand (Asia); England, France, Germany, Netherlands/Italy, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland (Europe): Costa Rica and Mexico (CONCACAF); New Zealand (Oceania); and Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador/Trinidad & Tobago (South America).
Viewers have complete access to the 90-minute Draw Show via FOX Sports GO, the app with live video of FOX Sports content at home or on the go.
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