The 2023 Major League Soccer season is just around the corner, but the crews of US commentators for MLS on Apple are still undecided. So I tried who are my recommended MLS announcers for Apple TV.
As mentioned, the Apple TV deal kicks off right away when the new season kicks off on February 25. However, there are still question marks over the talent behind the microphone calling the games on the new service. With 29 teams there are about 14 matches per matchday. Only a few go to FOX, the only place where MLS is still on TV. All MLS games come from Apple and a number of American commentators have a hat in the race.
World Soccer Talk founder Christopher Harris has already shared which announcers he thinks MLS will choose. On the other hand, I think those covering MLS games for their regional broadcast networks should be selected first. They provide the casual knowledge that MLS fans have come to know and love over the years.
These are my choices:
My list of recommended MLS announcers for Apple TV
JP Della camera
Dellacamera is one of the most respected voices in the game locally and nationally. His expertise and experience goes back decades.
He has mentioned indoor football, the MetroStars (then the name change to the New York Red Bulls), and the Philadelphia Union. He then became the leading play-by-play man for ESPN and FOX Soccer Channel on MLS broadcasts. He also covered the men’s and women’s football games at multiple Olympic Games. For USMNT World Cup Qualifying, he was the lead voter for a number of qualifying processes. He was also behind the microphone for CONCACAF and UEFA Champions League matches.
One of his most famous calls still comes from 1999, when he also called the historic winning penalty kick scored by Brandi Chastain. The United States defeated China and won 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 has long been the TV play-by-play voice of D.C. United. For more than 25 years his “IT’S IN THE NETtarget 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 as strong as any of us. During the off-season, 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 football during the 1997 US Open Cup championship finals in Indianapolis when defending champions D.C. United took on FC Dallas (then known as the Dallas Burn). He started much earlier when he covered the indoor game Houston Hotshots.
Now his resume is filled by calling the games for the Houston Dynamo, his local Football is important show, and has hosted many CONCACAF Gold Cup and Champions League matches, along with the Olympic Games for both men and women. He has also covered MLS games and several World Cup games on ESPN and FOX with NBC’s Olympic football coverage. He is also part of ESPN’s college football broadcasts.
Since covering the New York Red Bulls, I’ve watched Steve grow into one of the top football broadcasters, not just in New York City, but on a national level. He was the assistant reporter before taking over the broadcast booth when JP Dellacamera took on 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 football broadcasts, and the second announce team on MLS matches.
He originally called New England Revolution games on the radio in 2001 before transitioning to the TV side of things as a sideline reporter, then an analyst with Adrian Healey, then took over the TV stand full time at various regional sports networks such as FOX Sports New England, NBC Sports Boston, and then local television stations. The Hanover, New Hampshire native has long been a staple of Boston-area football.
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 in which he played Charlotte FC matches together with Lloyd Sam. While I must admit I have a soft spot for Eric, he would do a great job calling MLS games for the league and Apple TV.
He was part of the FOX Soccer Channel days as a studio presenter 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’ll never miss a goal when Max Bretos yells “YYYEEESSS!” He also started calling games on FOX Soccer Channel, local to the LA Galaxy. He moved to ESPN as host for ESPN FC to give Dan Thomas a break and also called games on ESPN. He recently became the TV play-by-play man for LAFC and has worked with a record nine to ten different analysts.
His videocast and audio podcast, The Soccer OG, gives his opinion on the games of the world. He is also the English language commentator during Copa Libertadores matches of CONMEBOL and MMA on Combate Global.
For the past few seasons, Anthony has been 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 with the famous quake goal call “GOAL! SAN JOSE!” In the off-season, he also makes calls to college sporting events, but his cheerful tone to me will show everyone that he deserves a chance to earn a spot at this job.
Mark is a lover of the game. He is a Soccer Hall of Fame MC. He is also the broadcaster for FC Dallas games in Frisco, Texas. There he collaborated with Dallas football writer Steve Davis. In every game, he shows his energy and passion by calling the local team for one of the greatest cities in all of Texas. In addition, 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 mention a game was during the semifinals of the 2017 US Open Cup when FC Cincinnati hosted the New York Red Bulls. His tone and energy worked really well with his analyst Kevin McCloskey during the club’s USL days (they later moved to MLS). Tom has stayed with the club in their new TQL stadium.
For the past several seasons, Jake has been the Portland Timbers’ play-by-play voice and occasionally called MLS games for FOX Sports. But his energy during the matches was solid. He could go further if selected by MLS.
If MLS chose international voices who have done a great job in the league, I would choose from English commentators Callum Williams, Tony Husband, Richard Fleming and Irish-American Keith Costigan who is on FOX Sports.
But until we get official word, these are my picks for US broadcasters for the new MLS on Apple TV deal to kick off the 2023 season. What do you say?
Photo credit: IMAGO/Icon Sportswire
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