Warner Bros Discovery Sports have unveiled their USMNT and USWNT commentators for games beginning in 2023. The announcement kicks off the broadcaster’s new deal with US Soccer, which runs through 2030.
Coverage begins January 17 when USWNT faces New Zealand in the first of two friendlies to be played down under. Those two games are followed in quick succession by USMNT friendlies against Serbia and Colombia. After that, some of the high profile games on HBO Max and/or TNT include SheBelieves Cup, CONCACAF Nations League and friendlies.
To present these and future games to soccer fans in 2023, Warner Bros Discovery Sports have unveiled an interesting broadcast team, to say the least.
USMNT and USWNT commentators a mix of new and familiar names
Out of all of the talent that Warner Bros Discovery Sports have picked for its coverage of the US Soccer, there are two major surprises.
First, they’ve named Luke Wileman as their lead commentator. Not well known to soccer fans outside of Canadian coverage of Major League Soccer, the Englishman has lived and worked in Canada since 2006. Prior to covering MLS for TSN for several years, Wileman worked at the BBC. Industry insiders say that Wileman is a good hire, but the hire is certainly from left field in our opinion.
Second, Kyle Martino is back. The well-loved soccer analyst who left NBC Sports under mysterious circumstances will be an analyst for Warner Bros Discovery Sports.
USMNT and USWNT commentators in full
The hires that Warner Bros Discovery Sports have made are a little unconventional for soccer, but could be a breath of fresh air:
Sara Walsh (host/presenter): Walsh spent seven years with ESPN, including as anchor of its flagship program SportsCenter. Better known for her American football coverage on the NFL Network, Walsh has done soccer games for FOX Sports, along with NASCAR. She was a four-year starter on the University of North Florida soccer team, where she set the school record for goals scored in a single game.
Julie Foudy (match analyst): Now that ESPN no longer has US Women’s National Team soccer games, Foudy is a smart, logical hire by Warner-Discovery. Still listed in Warner-Discovery’s press release as a “current analyst with ESPN,” they couldn’t have picked a better expert on women’s soccer.
DaMarcus Beasley (match analyst): Having worked for FOX Sports during the World Cup and for CBS Sports on their soccer coverage, it’s another smart hire by Warner Bros-Discovery. With 126 caps for the USMNT, there’s room for Beasley to grow in his position to become a better expert. And he has the platform to do it.
Shannon Boxx (match analyst): With 195 caps for the USWNT, she’s proven it on the pitch, but it’ll be interesting to see how she does on camera. In addition to the 195 appearances for USWNT, she played in four Women’s World Cups and earned three Olympic gold medals.
Other talent announced
In addition to the aforementioned Wileman and Martino, the hires made by Warner Bros Discovery Sports give the broadcaster a lot flexibility. For instance, Luke Wileman as lead commentator and Sara Walsh as presenter will be mainstays. But then the broadcaster can pick and choose from Martino, Beasley, Boxx and Foudy to see who would be best as a co-commentator and in the studio. And that can change as their coverage evolves.
Warner Bros Discovery Sports (let’s hope they pick a better, shorter name in the future) have hired a sideline reporter. It’s Melissa Ortiz, who is a familiar face on many broadcasts in the past 18 months including FOX Sports (World Cup), fuboTV (CONMEBOL World Cup qualifiers) and CBS Sports (women’s soccer).
As a player, Ortiz was a standout for the Colombian Women’s National Team, helping the team qualify for the FIFA Women’s World Cup in 2015.
Upcoming games on TV and streaming
The first Warner Bros-Discovery’s US Soccer broadcast debuts on HBO Max. First up are the USWNT games against New Zealand on January 17 and January 20 live on HBO Max. Then that’s followed by January 25’s USMNT-Serbia on HBO Max, and the January 28 game versus Colombia on TNT.
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