Soccer is About to Get a Dose of ‘March Madness’

Gus Johnson as “The Voice of Soccer in America.” What?

To soccer fans and television viewers, it is common knowledge that announcers from the British Isles are the most elite soccer commentators on the planet. It’s a fact. As opposed to purely stating the action that is occurring on the pitch plus a few strategic suggestions, the gents from across the pond engage with each other and instead tell stories. They are free flowing and make it sound as if you are in a pub watching the game on the television while sitting next to a couple fellow football fans, and smart ones at that.

Now, is there any play-by-play man in the good ol’ United States of America who can send electricity through the veins of his fellow men, women and children, by which leading them to the nearest tele to indulge in a sport before considered foreign? Will the guy heard in the video below provide the spark that creates a fire of intrigue and curiosity for “the beautiful game” to people in the land that stretches from sea to shining sea and across purple mountains majesty?

Ladies and gentlemen, let’s all relive a few of the magical moments spoken by the aforementioned announcer during the chaotic month of March.

According to a recent Sports Illustrated article, Gus Johnson (yes, the one from the clip above), is being groomed by Fox Sports to become their vocal leader of soccer in America. “…Johnson begins the long road to becoming the voice of the 2018 World Cup for Fox.”

While he has been gaining experience by calling games of MLS’s own San Jose Earthquakes on the radio along with other low-key assignments, his tasks are about to send him into the soccer heavens.

As revealed in SI, “The 45-year-old broadcaster will call his first match for Fox Soccer on Feb. 13 (2 p.m. ET) from Madrid’s Estadio Santiago Bernabéu when Real Madrid faces Manchester United in a mouthwatering Champions League Round of 16 match. The assignment is the first in a series of high-profile soccer matches for Johnson, including a second Champions League match between Arsenal and Bayern Munich in London on Feb. 19 and a Premier League game between Manchester City and Chelsea at Etihad Stadium on Feb. 24. Johnson will call additional Premier League and Champions League matches and is scheduled to call the FA Cup final on Fox on May 11 and the Champions League final on Fox on May 25. Johnson will be on site for each of the games.”

Here could be a few common reactions to this news: Wow. Really? The guy who broadcasts college basketball? Do I get the Fox Soccer Channel? If not, how can I get it?

Before these colossal matches begin in one week, let’s hypothesize his potential based on culture. The men who hail from the British Isles speak casually, but with the highest degree of intelligence and humor, and are all around fun to listen to for ninety minutes. The Mexican soccer announcers are very intense with the fastest tongues and stretch the elasticity of the word “goal” longer than anyone else on planet Earth: “GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOALLL!!!!!!”
FYI: This is the shortened version.

For your listening pleasure, the one and only Andrés Cantor:

And now Gus Johnson will try to define himself as the “voice” of American soccer on Fox. Thus far, there is a vacancy so-to-speak that is waiting to be filled. The commentators on ESPN are 90% former American players who may understand the game, but are poor to average at best in analyzing the sport and generating excitement, superior insight or perspective to the viewer. Also, when MLS resumes March 2nd, take notice the accent of the play-by-play broadcaster. Does it sound a bit…British? Just something to listen for on The Worldwide Leader in Sports’ soccer coverage.

One of the pivotal questions we will be asking is whether or not Johnson will more closely align to the American broadcaster or the British broadcaster? You could say the leap from one side of this spectrum to the other is about the size of the Atlantic Ocean.

Gus Johnson has a big voice and can gin up excitement like only a select few can in today’s world. What does he want to tell anxious soccer fans? As stated in the SI article, Johnson had to reflect on his response for more than a few seconds (30 in fact) as this sport has not become second nature to him…yet.

“What would I say to them? I would probably say just give me a minute and I’m going to become a convert, and once I do, I am going to give you the passion and the commitment to your sport that I do for every other sport that I’m part of. I see this as a great opportunity for my life, and I’m down with it and I want to get in there.”

Come February 13th, Gus Johnson will proclaim to the world: “This is The Beautiful Game!!!”

Posted on February 6, 2013, in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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