RandBall: Soccer fans, are you ready for Gus Johnson?

  • Blog Post by: Michael Rand
  • February 5, 2013 - 3:07 PM


Gus Johnson's style is a mixed bag among sports fans, who tend to either love him or hate him. How will that play with soccer fans? Well, we're about to find out. Per


The radical idea was hatched in October 2011, shortly after FIFA awarded the U.S. broadcast rights to Fox Sports for the 2018 and 2022 World Cups. Fox Sports president Eric Shanks wanted to do something bold with his soccer coverage. Most importantly, he wanted to brand it with something unique to Fox. So he called up broadcaster Gus Johnson, who had joined Fox only five months earlier, and asked him a question: Would you be willing to work for the next six years to become the American voice of soccer?

Johnson was stunned. But he was also interested.

Fourteen months later, after an immersion in the sport that has included calling a dozen games on the radio for the San Jose Earthquakes of the MLS and a series of practice soccer broadcasts from Fox studios across the country, Johnson begins the long road to becoming the voice of the 2018 World Cup for Fox.

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.

Gus is an excitable guy. It will be interesting to see how that enthusiasm translates into matches that potentially end in scoreless draws. Probably something like this:



© 2018 Star Tribune