Sunday, December 04, 2011

Interview with broadcaster Arlo White

Since 2009, Arlo White was the voice of the Seattle Sounders. You can relive some of his best calls here.

He recently took a job with the re-branded NBC Sports Network and will be the main voice of MLS and U.S. Men's National team games on the network.

Picture to the right is credited to Arlo White's Twitter page.

Click "Read More" for the full interview.

Q. What do you love most about your job?

A number of things.  I love the game, and I love broadcasting as a profession and a craft.  I love the split second of a big moment, when something significant occurs during a match.  Can I convey it to the audience with absolute accuracy and excitement?  That's the pressure.  I can only remember one goal-call that I've done in two years in MLS, that I wouldn't change.  But I love the pressure and I love the preparation.  

Q. What do you feel contributed most to the Sounder's regular season success this year?

A. Mental resilience, togetherness and sheer talent.  They had to overcome major injuries to Steve Zakuani and O'Brian White yet still managed to maintain the confidence, and exude the quality necessary to create chances and score goals.  Sigi Schmid enjoys playing attacking Soccer, and 2011 was the year that the quality of play on the field matched the incredible experience and intensity off it.  Without Zakuani, Montero, Fernandez, Alonso and more all stood up.  Lamar Neagle impressed in his first season, and as for Mauro Rosales, he's just brilliant.  I was also delighted to see Kasey Keller go out in such style.  He told me he rated 2011 as one of his very best seasons as a pro.  Not bad for a 41 year old.  He'll be missed, but he'll be ably replaced I'm sure. 

Q. What does it say about the team to be on such a roll without arguably their best player in Steve Zakuani? 

A. That 2012 will be a very exciting season for the Seattle Sounders FC.

Q. Where do you see the MLS 7-10 years from now?

A. It could be a destination league.  Commissioner Don Garber says he wants MLS to be one of the top leagues on the planet by 2022.  I don't think that's impossible.  Some things would have to change, most notably the salary cap would have to be relaxed enormously in time, as Kasey Keller has mentioned.  But interest is growing.  Stadiums have been built in downtown areas.  There is a big buzz in markets, that will only grow.  A 2nd New York team would be a major development (particularly if they're called 'Cosmos' - global recognition).  MLS has grown in recent years, when the economy has been in the tank, so imagine if it stabilises?  The USA inspires massive interest and curiosity throughout the world, and so does Football.  Put the two together, and the possibilities are endless.

Q. Will we see teams in the southern/southeast portions of the US in the near future..or maybe a club in Edmonton, Canada?

A. I think the New York issue has to be resolved first.  Once the league gets to 20 teams, with two in the Big Apple, there may be a year or two of consolidation.  But who knows, DC United are trying to do a stadium deal, the commissioner is running out of patience with that, and he knows there is great interest in Detroit, Las Vegas and Miami.  Is there a real interest and appetite for Soccer in the Southern states?  I'm not sure, but I would expect Florida to be represented before too long.

Q. What do you think of the Impact signing Jesse Marsch as head coach?

A. An Ivy League educated, former US International with over 300 appearances in Major League Soccer, who has coached in the national team set-up; what's not to like?!  Some may point to his lack of club coaching experience, but as Ben Olsen has proved at DC United, a swift transition from player to coach can be made successfully.

Q.What does it say about the league that there will now be three different teams in Canada?
A. It's another massively positive step for the league.  I've always viewed things through a US prism, and thought that in a nation of over 300 million people, it doesn't matter if your sport is in 4th or 5th place in terms of popularity.  Because of sheer numbers, a massive amount of people will follow it.  There are die hard Soccer fans but also increasing numbers who have become fans, and still follow the other traditional US sports.  Canada has it's national past-time set in stone, but I'm sure there are plenty of Hockey fans who take in their fair share of footy as well.  Football has become a staple on the sporting landscape in both countries, and long may that continue.

In my opinion, the NBC Sports Network just snagged the best soccer broadcaster in the U.S. Thanks again for the interview Arlo, and best of luck on your new gig!

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