The 2023 Major League Soccer season is quickly coming upon us, but the crews of American commentators for MLS on Apple are still undecided. So, I’ve taken a stab at who are my recommended MLS announcers for Apple TV.
As covered, the Apple TV deal starts right away when the new season begins on Feb. 25. However, question marks still surround the talent behind the microphone calling the games on the new service. With 29 teams, there are roughly 14 games each matchday. Only a couple go to FOX, the only place left to watch MLS on TV. All of the MLS games come from Apple, and a number of American commentators have a hat in the running.
World Soccer Talk founder Christopher Harris has already shared which announcers MLS will pick, in his opinion. On the other hand, I believe those who covered MLS games for their regional broadcast networks should get selected first. They provide the colloquial knowledge MLS fans came to know and love over the years.
Here are my picks:
My list of recommended MLS announcers for Apple TV
Dellacamera is one of the most respected voices in the game, local and national,. His expertise and experience dates back decades.
He has called indoor soccer, the MetroStars (then the name change to the New York Red Bulls), and the Philadelphia Union. After that, he became the lead play-by-play man for ESPN and FOX Soccer Channel on MLS Broadcasts. He also covered the men’s and women’s soccer games in multiple Olympics. For USMNT World Cup Qualifying, he served as the lead voice for a number of qualification processes. He sat behind the mic for CONCACAF and UEFA Champions League fixtures, too.
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One of his most famous calls still comes from 1999. Back then, he also called the historic winning penalty kick scored by Brandi Chastain. The United States defeated China to win the 1999 Women’s World Cup on home soil.
Dellacamera won the Colin Jose Media award. In 2018, the Soccer Hall of Fame inducted him for his decades of work in the broadcast booth.
Dave Johnson is the long-time TV play-by-play voice of DC United. For over 25 years, his “IT’S IN THE NET” goal call became famous. He had witnessed many championships from the early years: four MLS Cup Championships; several US Open Cup titles and so on.
His love and passion for the game are just as strong as all of ours. During the offseason, he is the radio play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Washington Wizards and works for NBC Washington DC affiliate WRC-TV.
I remember him broadcasting soccer during the 1997 US Open Cup Championship Final in Indianapolis as defending champion DC United took on FC Dallas (then known as the Dallas Burn). He started much earlier than that when he covered the Houston Hotshots of the indoor game.
Now, his resume is full by calling the games for the Houston Dynamo, his local Soccer Matters show, and has called many CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League games, along with the Olympics for both the Men and Women. He has also been covering MLS games and several World Cup games on ESPN and FOX with NBC’s Olympics soccer coverage. He is a part of ESPN’s college soccer broadcasts as well.
Since I cover the New York Red Bulls, I have seen Steve’s rise to become one of the best soccer broadcasters, not just in New York City, but nationally as well. He was the sideline reporter before taking over the broadcast booth when JP Dellacamera took the MLS on ESPN job. He joined Shep Messing permanently for over two decades, then worked with FOX on CONCACAF Gold Cup Coverage, ESPN on European soccer broadcasts, and the second announcing team on MLS games.
He originally called New England Revolution games on the radio in 2001 before making a move to the TV side of things as a sideline reporter, then an analyst with Adrian Healey, then took over the TV booth full-time with different regional sports networks such as FOX Sports New England, NBC Sports Boston, then local television stations. The Hanover, New Hampshire native has been a staple for soccer in the Boston area for a long time.
I’ve known Eric for a few years since he covered the New York Red Bulls during the Jesse Marsch era. He moved to South Florida to begin his professional broadcasting career with beIN SPORTS. In 2022, it was his first and only season calling Charlotte FC games along with Lloyd Sam. While I’ll admit I have a soft spot for Eric, he would do a fantastic job calling MLS games for the league and Apple TV.
He was a part of the FOX Soccer Channel days as a studio host for the English Premier League, UEFA Champions League, and MLS, and has called several LA Galaxy games on the radio when Joe Tutino was on television for Galaxy games. He currently calls games for the Pacific 12 Conference college sports games and has also had a spell calling Portland Timbers games on Root Sports.
You know you will never miss a goal when Max Bretos belts out “YYYEEESSS!” He also began calling games on FOX Soccer Channel, locally for the LA Galaxy. He moved to ESPN as a host for ESPN FC to give Dan Thomas a break and called games on ESPN as well. Recently, he has become the TV play-by-play man for LAFC, and has worked with a record of nine to ten different analysts.
His videocast and audio podcast, The Soccer O.G., gives his opinions on the world’s games. He is also the English-language commentator during Copa Libertadores games from CONMEBOL and MMA on Combate Global.
For the last several seasons, Anthony was the lead play-by-play man for San Jose Earthquakes TV broadcasts on NBC Sports Bay Area/California with Chris Dangerfield and Danielle Slaton. Of course, he continued on the famous goal call for the Earthquakes “GOAL! SAN JOSE!” He also calls college sporting events during the offseason, but his upbeat tone to me will show everyone he deserves a chance to earn a spot for this job.
Mark is a lover of the game. He is an MC of the Soccer Hall of Fame. Also, he is the broadcaster for FC Dallas games in Frisco, Texas. There, he worked with Dallas soccer writer Steve Davis. In each game, he shows his energy and passion by calling the local team for one of the biggest cities in all of Texas. Moreover, he called MLS games on FOX Sports along with the Copa America Centenario.
He is currently the play-by-play voice of the NBA’s Dallas Mavericks.
The first time I heard Tom call a match was at the 2017 US Open Cup Semi-Finals when FC Cincinnati hosted the New York Red Bulls. His tone and energy worked very well with his analyst Kevin McCloskey during the club’s USL days (later they moved to MLS). Tom has remained with the club in their new TQL Stadium.
For the last several seasons, Jake has been the play-by-play voice of the Portland Timbers, and he occasionally called MLS games for FOX Sports. But his energy during the games has been solid. He could go further if he gets selected by MLS.
If MLS did pick international voices who have done a great job covering the league, I would select from English commentators Callum Williams, Tony Husband, Richard Fleming, and Irish-American Keith Costigan who is on FOX Sports.
But until we get the official word, those are my selections for American broadcasters for the new MLS on Apple TV deal to start the 2023 season. What say you?
Photo credit: IMAGO / Icon Sportswire
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