Digital Headbutt

A sports blog about stuff…stuff that involves things.

If You’re Going to Watch MLS This Year, Watch It In Spanish

Posted by Mike on May 11, 2007

Since the World Cup in Germany, I have begun to seriously watch soccer games. Part of it is the access, as for the first time I can watch British Premiership games on Fox Soccer Channel. And I have to say, soccer is a lot of fun to watch at its highest levels.

Our domestic product, Major League Soccer, is decidedly less fun. The game happens at a slower pace, the ball handling isn’t as good, and scoring opportunities are few and far between. But the worst aspect of American soccer has to be the announcers. Some of ESPN’s soccer announcers have no idea of what they’re talking about, the former players often have difficulty conveying their thoughts, and everyone is as unenthusiastic as Jose Mourinho. Seriously, that guy could watch the Second coming and remain seated, on the bench, with that blank stare.

jose-mourinho.jpg

Nonetheless, I want to endorse our American version by watching the games every once in a while. I just need a reason to tune in. MLS’s new TV deal with TeleFutura has thus been a godsend. The 2006 World Cup was great to watch, but for me it became an obsession when I began watching it on Univision (who owns Telefutura) instead of ESPN. With the passion, pageantry, and scantily clad senadoras on “Republica Deportiva”, how could anyone not get excited about el Futbol?

senadoras.jpg

It’s very refreshing to listen to the announcers in Spanish. They’re extremely passionate about the sport, and they’re not afraid to show it. Ad to that the fact that most announcers are from Argentina, where everyone’s super dramatic, and the announcing in entertainment in itself. If you understand Spanish, then watching the games becomes even better. Their analysis and insight into soccer is unmatched by American commentators. The enthusisasm, however, is what has me sold on the announcers. Honestly, when a goal is scored, which would you rather hear:

ESPN: Ballack takes the free kick into the box…and it’s in! Klose heads the ball in for Germany to take a 1-0 lead.

Univision: Ballack con el SERVICIOOO…GOL! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!! DE ALEMANNNIAAAAAAAAAA!!! GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLLLLLLL!!!!! DE MIROSLAV KLOOOSEEEEE!!!! Ballack Con El Servicio Perfecto Y Klose Con El Gran Cabezazo, y Alemania! esta ganando, uno a zeroooooooooo!

See the difference? The Spanish announcers react to a play exactly as a fan would. Fernando Fiore is the Dick Vitale of soccer, but with better analysis. And that exactly what the sport needs in America right now: constant exposure to true soccer fandom. That is what’s going to get viewers excited about the game, and in turn our domestic version of it.

If you’re looking for something to watch on Sunday afternoons this summer, then tune in to the soccer games on TeleFutura. Even if you don’t speak Spanish, it’s a hell of a lot better than trying to withstand two hours of Eric Wynalda.

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