A veteran soccer play-by-play announcer, a former Gopher women's soccer player and a former Minnesota United player will serve as the broadcast team for the Loons' first season of Major League Soccer.
Callum Williams, Kyndra de St. Aubin and Jamie Watson will team up to cover the Loons, whose preseason begins Monday and regular season starts March 3 at Portland.
A local TV deal is in the works but not yet announced.
Williams, who will be the play-by-play announcer, has covered soccer in both his native United Kingdom and North America. He worked in commercial radio as a sports producer, commentator and reporter before joining the BBC in 2009. He also spent four years as Sporting Kansas City's play-by-play announcer until the club did not retain him for the 2015 season. De St. Aubin, 36, the Loons' color commentator, has worked as a reporter and host at several ESPN radio affiliates before focusing on freelancing for entities such as the Pac-12 Network and Fox Sports since 2011. A Wisconsin native, she grew up in Stillwater and was a center back on the Gophers women's soccer team before graduating in 2003.
"When someone says, 'Oh, you get to be the analyst for MLS,' you fall off your chair,'' de St. Aubin said. "But then when someone says, 'Oh, and by the way, the team is in Minnesota,' and you get to come home to your community that basically shaped your life and your soccer career ... it's like this weird full circle."
Watson, 30, first played midfielder for United in 2012 while on loan from Orlando City before returning to the team from 2014-16. The Arlington, Texas, native will be United's sideline reporter.
"I'd be lying if I said there wasn't a little bit of nostalgia going into the last 12 years [professionally] of a 20-year [playing] career that's coming to an end, effectively, today," Watson said Tuesday. "But it's difficult to be really sad about it when you have something that's so amazing — it's an amazing opportunity — with the club in front of you."
Midfielder final pick
With its last pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, United selected Tanner Thompson, a midfielder who played collegiately at Indiana. Thompson was the first pick Tuesday in the fourth and final round of the draft, conducted on a closed conference call.
A native of Loomis, Calif., Thompson, 22, started every game for the Hoosiers his sophomore through senior years. He was a two-time Big Ten midfielder of the year his last two seasons and a first-team All-America honoree selected by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America his last season. He scored 18 goals and tallied 19 assists for the Hoosiers in his career.
The players drafted earlier by United were No. 1 overall pick forward Abu Danladi from UCLA, goalkeeper Alec Ferrell from Wake Forest and midfielder Thomas de Villardi from Delaware.