Highlights: USL Pro Game of the Week

Here are highlights of the first USL Pro Game of the Week broadcast from this past weekend. Rochester beat Harrisburg 1-0 to take over first place in the National Division.

For the first broadcast out of the box, it was fine. We still have some things to work on, as you might expect. This week we’re in Orlando as City takes on (or take on, I can never figure out which) the Wilmington Hammerheads at 7:30 Saturday.

And That’s…A Goal

Actually, it was a bit more dramatic than that, as Rochester Rhinos’ goalkeeper Neal Kitson scored this stoppage-time equalizer last Sunday evening to give the Rhinos a 2-2 draw with Antigua Barracuda FC in a USL Pro match.

It’s unlikely Kitson will get on the scoresheet again anytime soon (he’s the first Rochester ‘keeper ever to score), but he’ll be trying to keep the Harrisburg City Islanders off the score sheet when the two teams meet this Saturday at 5:30pm ET on the first telecast of the USL Pro Game of the Week on Fox Soccer.

Former Burnley/Fulham/Portsmouth/Edmonton Drillers goalkeeper Peter Mellor and I will have the call of the game and the rest of the USL Pro schedule on Fox Soccer this season. Tune in Saturday and every weekend between now and the USL Pro Championship Match on September 3.

USA Team Handball Nationals Start Friday

The 43rd annual USA Team Handball National Club Championships get going in the morning at the Salt Palace in Salt Lake City, Utah. For the third straight year, I’ll be broadcasting the men’s and women’s finals in the Elite Division on Sunday. You can catch the action at www.usateamhandball.org. The women’s final is at 1pm MT/4pm ET and the men’s final is at 3pm MT/5pm ET.

If you haven’t seen team handball before (not a surprise, there aren’t many opportunities), it’s a ton of fun when played well – a little like basketball, a little like indoor soccer, a little like water polo without the water. The best club teams in the country will be trying to knock off defending champ Los Angeles Team Handball Club in the men’s division, while the women’s division is wide open with defending champ Houston not returning to the tournament. Chicago Inter, which had won back-to-back titles before falling in last year’s women’s final, could return to the top spot, but not without a battle from the other teams in the draw.

Change In The Weather

Phoenix Monsoon owner Stu Starky (left) with PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken.

Phoenix is back on the pro indoor soccer map. The Professional Arena Soccer League announced Wednesday it has granted Valley businessman Stuart Starkey (at left in the photo above, with PASL Commissioner Kevin Milliken) an expansion franchise that will begin play this fall in the PASL-Pro. (This is not a surprise to those of you who’ve been following along.)

The interesting thing is I’m listed as the voice of the team, the Phoenix Monsoon. While that may happen, I can tell you it hasn’t happened yet. Still, it’s nice to be considered.

Supposedly there’s going to be a press conference soon, probably at the team’s purported home, the Arizona Veterans Memorial Coliseum. I’ll let you know when I know more.

The Church Of England

SOCCER PLAYERIn its primordial soup days, Major League Soccer went out of its way to distance itself from the way things were done in the rest of the world1. From the garish uniforms to breaking ties through shootouts to best-of-three-games playoffs to tight restrictions on foreign players, the league emphasized its American-ness at all costs.

Now things are swinging the other way. We still don’t have single-table standings or promotion and relegation, but the shootout is long gone and even overtime is a thing of the past. And now we’re dealing with a second British Invasion that I’m far less enthused about than the first.

Continue reading The Church Of England

Programming Note

I’ll be broadcasting the Class 4A Division II basketball championships this morning on www.aia365.com and KAZG-AM 1440. The girls’ game (at 10am MT, Noon ET) features defending state champion Chandler Seton Catholic against Thunderbird (you can see that game here) and the boys’ game (scheduled for Noon MT, 2pm ET) matches #1 seed Tucson Amphitheater against Tempe (you can see that one here). KAZG doesn’t stream its audio online, unfortunately, but if you could have listened, you could watch, I guess.

Let’s Twist Again…

It was 15 years ago today – February 22, 1996 – that the Continental Indoor Soccer League announced an expansion franchise for Indianapolis, Indiana that eventually became known as the Twisters. I was fortunate enough to be the team’s radio announcer for the two summers that it played in the CISL, and am considering producing a documentary on the team’s short but interesting history.

You can see several video highlights from the Twisters’ two seasons on my YouTube channel, and I’m finishing the process of digitizing as many of the original radio broadcasts as still exist. Look for those as the summer goes on.

So, You Want To Be A Broadcaster?

The latest installment of The Things We Do For Love features a look at my broadcast position for five games of this past weekend’s President’s Day Invitational youth hockey tournament.

Trust me: it’s even less fun than you might think calling five kids’ games from a corner of the rink at floor level starting at 6:50 am would be. But we got through it (thanks to the always-awesome Malik Robinson) and by the fifth game it was almost okay.

This weekend, things will get quite a bit better, as I’ll be calling the boys and girls 4A-II state basketball championships on www.aia365.com and KAZG-AM 1440 on Saturday. It’ll be in a real arena with a partner and multiple cameras and all that good stuff.

More Of The Glamorous Life

Ah, the life of a bigshot sports announcer. Analyst Chet Gole and I were fortunate enough to call a really good high school basketball game last night between Boulder Creek and Deer Valley on AIA365.com. The surroundings were kind of spartan, but we were thrilled to have the opportunity and hopefully will get to do more games together in the future. If you’re so inclined, you can see the game here.