Four years after the first time around, Minnesota United television analyst Kyndra de St. Aubin is back working FIFA Women’s World Cup games throughout June. She is on loan, not transferred from her Major League Soccer team.
Working from a Los Angeles studio lot, she is guaranteed to call eight games played in France, beginning Saturday morning with the Spain vs. South Africa game until group play’s final day on June 20. If she and play-by-play partner Jenn Hildreth impress — as they did when they were Fox Sports’ only all-female broadcast pairing for the 2015 World Cup in Canada — they could be rewarded with a knockout-stage game and more, in France possibly.
“Survive and advance,” she said. “It’s no different now as a broadcaster than it was as a player.”
De St. Aubin knows all about that.
She’s a member of Fox Sports’ vast team of analysts, studio hosts and play-by-play announcers gathered to broadcast in America all 52 World Cup games for the first time. She’s also the only analyst who never played at that level for the U.S., Germany, England or Canada, as her many peers did.
Raised in Stillwater, de St. Aubin played collegiately for Wisconsin and the Gophers despite being diagnosed with lupus when she was in 10th grade. The chronic inflammatory disease caused her hands and wrists to swell and kept her from lifting her arms above her head.
De St. Aubin graduated college with a broadcast journalism degree in 2003. From there she worked for more than a decade on radio and television — selling advertising by day when needed — from Milwaukee to Phoenix. She worked for the Big Ten and Pac-12 networks along the way and covered everything from men’s and women’s soccer and college football to basketball and softball.
After he first World Cup broadcast stint, she moved into United’s broadcast booth as MLS’ only female game analyst with announcer Callum Williams starting in 2017.
“You get out of life what you put in,” United coach Adrian Heath said. “She’s keen and she’s committed to what she’s doing. I’m sure with all the hard work she has put in, this will be a big moment for her.”
In recent weeks, De St. Aubin prepped for both the busiest part of United’s schedule and a demanding World Cup start with a fistful of markers, notebook, manila folders, binder and laptop. Sideline reporter Jamie Watson will move to the United broadcast booth while she’s gone.
Consider those first eight World Cup games an audition to advance, just like tournament favorites France, England and the United States must.
“This business always is one,” De St. Aubin said. “If you’re not doing your job and not doing your homework, there are a million other people who want your job because it’s awesome. Is there anything better than calling a World Cup? No, there really isn’t.”
From Fox’s lot in Los Angeles, she and Hildreth will call group play off television monitors from an international feed from France. In 2015 they did it from a Vancouver studio, developing a chemistry that led Fox executives to team them and keep them together. They were promoted to call two games in Edmonton, including an England-Japan semifinal.
They can’t see what’s happening off camera when they call games remotely and can’t feel stadium energy. But she’s around Fox Sport’s many former national-team players — women and men — on what she called an “amazing” set built for this World Cup.
“You still feel part of a big thing,” De St. Aubin said. “It’s just not in Paris.”
Five-year-old daughter Adelynne, husband Bobby and her mother will join her for much of her time in Los Angeles. She’ll call a game every other day, telling stories of teams that have beaten the odds to reach France.
“Perform well, give the viewers a good game,” De St Aubin said. “There are a lot of teams — Cameroon, Thailand, Jamaica — these women have fought and clawed to even be in existence in places where they don’t think highly of the women’s game. So you have to tell their stories of what they’ve done and do the players and the teams justice.”