Alexi Lalas, the soccer analyst that people either love or hate, will make his FOX Sports debut in January after leaving ESPN at the end of this month.
As we reported in October (along with Awful Announcing), Lalas joins host Rob Stone, Warren Barton and former USMNT teammates Eric Wynalda and recently-added Brad Friedel as key members of FOX Sports’ soccer team. He is set to contribute to FOX Sports’ coverage of the UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, England’s FA Cup, Major League Soccer, USMNT matches, UEFA European Championship Qualifiers and FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Lalas, in a feature interview with Sports Illustrated, will make his debut during FOX’s coverage of the FA Cup Third Round. FOX hasn’t announced yet which games will be televised, so we’ll have to wait and see which game Lalas will make his debut in. However, it’s ironic that Lalas will make his debut focusing on English teams given that he called the Premier League an inferior product in 2007.
“I am really thrilled to join FOX Sports and work on the terrific lineup of soccer properties they’ve assembled over the last few years,” said Lalas. “I’ve been impressed with the quality and depth of FOX’s soccer coverage and I’m excited to contribute to the overall effort and help grow the sport I love.”
Lalas joins FOX Sports from ESPN, where he was the lead studio analyst for the network’s coverage of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He also provided analysis on Major League Soccer, USMNT Team matches and international soccer events including the UEFA European Championships and FIFA Confederations Cups.
Lalas’ soccer background extends far beyond his broadcasting career. One of the best defenders in American soccer history, Lalas was elected to the National Soccer Hall of Fame in 2006. He was the first American to play in Italy’s top division, Serie A, with club Padova, before moving to the MLS in 1996, the league’s inaugural season. He enjoyed much of his on-field success with the LA Galaxy, winning the CONCACAF Champions Cup, the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup. Following his retirement in 2002, he was appointed the general manager of the San Jose Earthquakes; he served the same role with the LA Galaxy in 2008 before joining ESPN.
FOX Sports acquiring Alexi Lalas will definitely boost their soccer coverage, which is in a dire need of change. I’m confident he will excel at FOX, but the question is whether his colleagues will be able to keep up and attain similar levels of professionalism that Lalas’ colleagues at ESPN hit.
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