FOX Sports sportscaster Gus Johnson, who has become known for his memorable calls and catchphrases, will be “putting 18 months of study into practice” and calling his first-ever match for Fox Soccer on Feb. 13, the network announced today.
Johnson will be calling the UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match between Real Madrid and Manchester United, live from Madrid’s Estadio Santigao Bernabéu, Feb. 13 at 2pm ET. Fox Soccer says that this assignment is the first in a series of Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and UEFA Champions League matches Gus Johnson is expected to call, including the FA Cup and UEFA Champions League Finals, May 11 and 25, respectively, on FOX.
Calling soccer is a relatively new undertaking for Gus Johnson, who has become known for his calls covering pro and college sports, including football, basketball, baseball and boxing, among others. According to a Fox Soccer release, “Since accepting this new challenge, Johnson has tapped several resources in his effort to learn as much as possible in such a short period of time. He called over a dozen MLS games on radio, mostly those of the San Jose Earthquakes; he has played pick-up soccer games in a park near his Manhattan home; spent several weeks in Europe last season attending games and conversing at length with Sky Sports executives and world-class football play-by-play announcer Martin Tyler.”
“No doubt that the followers of this sport are among the most passionate, knowledgeable fans in the world, and I’m a newcomer,” says Johnson. “The effort to learn the sport and absorb its nuance has been a humbling experience. While I’ve put a lot of time into my preparation thus far, it’s definitely going to take a lot of reps before I’ve mastered soccer’s rhythm and pace, but I am determined to do so, and with all the support I’m receiving I have no doubt that I will.”
Calling the match next week in Madrid, Gus Johnson will be partnering with Fox Soccer analyst Warren Barton. Following that assignment, Johnson is scheduled to call another UEFA Champions League match, between Arsenal and Bayern Munich, on Feb. 19, with analyst Ray Clemence, and a Barclays Premier League match featuring Manchester City and Chelsea on Feb. 24 with Lee Dixon as analyst.
The announcement of Gus Johnson as a soccer announcer has gotten some passionate response from soccer fans, and other sports fans who are familiar with Johnson’s work and have had some fun listening to his calls, on Twitter. What are your thoughts?
Gus Johnson makes his Fox Soccer sportscasting debut Feb. 13 at 2pm ET, calling the Real Madrid/Manchester United UEFA Champions League Round of 16 match.