JP Dellacamera should be calling more MLS matches

Dellacamera

The best goal call of the opening MLS weekend – local or national – was JP Dellacamera on Ike Opara’s opener for Sporting Kansas City against the New York Red Bulls on Sunday afternoon.

Dellacamera’s pop in perfect symphony with a raucous Sporting Park was a sweet sound.

Watch it again, and enjoy it, because since the Philadelphia Union won’t be scoring many goals this year, Dellacamera won’t be calling many goals this year.

The only reason he was calling Sporting and the Red Bulls on opening weekend was because FOX Sports 1 had a double-header for their opening weekend coverage. From now on, FS1 will only broadcast one game per week, which will be called by the network’s lead commentator John Strong.

This has nothing to do with Strong, the native Portlander whose rise to being anointed the new American voice of soccer has been meteoric over the last two years.

Strong calls a good game, and he has a great career ahead of him.

But something just isn’t right with the original American voice of soccer, Dellacamera, getting so few opportunities to call MLS’ biggest matches.

For the decades when the domestic American game and the US National Team were scraping the very bottom of the barrel of the soccer world, Dellacamera was there.

As far back as his days as the voice of the MISL, Dellacamera has been the voice of American soccer.

He was on the call for Paul Caligiuri’s Shot Heard ‘Round The World in Trinidad in 1989, the US’ penalty shootout victory over China to win the 1999 Women’s World Cup at the Rose Bowl, and the American’s victory over Spain at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.

Dellacamera has called Olympics, World Cups, national MLS, local MLS, and everything in between.

Dellacamera’s performance hasn’t wavered in recent years. His stucco delivery, enthusiasm, and command of the game continue to make him one of the most enjoyable listens in MLS.

But unfortunately, Dellacamera has been hit with some rough luck in recent years. He was taken off the World Cup by ESPN for 2010 when the network decided to go the British route – and that was a good call, Dellacamera might be terrific, but he’s no Ian Darke.

But ESPN declined Dellacamera’s option, and he left to head up FOX Sports’ MLS coverage – but the league lost the rights after just one year to NBCSN, which also decided to go the British route and lock up Seattle Sounders play-by-play man Arlo White.

Dellacamera remains the local voice of the Union in Philadelphia, but the only national work he’s gotten is filling in for occasionally on NBCSN, or calling international matches from the studio for FOX.

Quite simply, he’s too good for that. Dellacamera’s broadcast is much better with a loud crowd to compliment him, and as MLS gets better and better, it doesn’t make sense that the man who was there for the years of empty football stadiums and the Wiz and Chivas USA should be relegated to the background.

It’s hard to see now where exactly Dellacamera fits. ESPN is happy with Adrian Healey, FOX has Strong, and there are no other real openings in national MLS broadcasting.

But it’s easy to see that Dellacamera should fit somewhere. Few call the big moments like him.

The big moments – and there have been plenty – will be the soundtrack of Dellacamera’s career. But much of his body of work has come out of the spotlight – calling club and international friendlies, CONCACAF Champions League, and youth World Cups for just thousands of people.

Dellacamera’s contribution to the women’s game are marked as well. While his call of the ’99 World Cup Final is iconic, no announcer has done more games or become more synonymous with the USWNT.

That’s why Dellacamera should be assigned to the US at the Women’s World Cup this summer in Canada. Dellacamera is expected to be named to FOX’s coverage, but most likely not as the lead commentator.

Dellacamera hasn’t called a World Cup match live for television since 2007, but the chips fall just right here. With Gus Johnson’s departure from FOX’s soccer coverage, there is no clear number one commentator. While that title could also go to Strong, Dellacamera’s career body of work demands that he call big matches.

It’s not that history is the most important issue. Commentating assignments – especially at a World Cup – are not lifetime achievement awards. But Dellacamera has the history and he’s still very much on top of his game – we’re just getting fewer and fewer chances to hear him.

It’s a shame. Dellacamera’s style is as unique as any top broadcaster we’ve ever seen in the US, a blend of natural enthusiasm, a great voice, and a trademark delivery.

Dellacamera’s Philadelphia Union booth has been a factory for turning out top analysts, from Kyle Martino, to Taylor Twellman, to Alejandro Moreno. Strong himself considers Dellacamera a close personal friend, as do many others at the top level of the industry.

Dellacamera is regarded as one of the most selfless men in broadcasting. Now, selfishly, we want to hear more of him on American soccer’s biggest broadcasts.

 

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6 Comments

  1. Tim March 12, 2015
  2. Geess March 12, 2015
    • Mike March 12, 2015
      • Tim March 12, 2015
  3. Dave March 12, 2015
  4. barry drake June 12, 2016

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