Happy 4th Of July to all….
Archive for the ‘Broadcasting’ Category
TSG’s Brian Mechanick spoke with Jeff Carlisle as the ESPN reporter was about to hop a plan for South Africa.
Mechanick follows up today with a debrief from Carlisle with a little more than a week left at World Cup 2010.
To Brian & Jeff…..
Q: How do you rate the U.S.’s performance in this World Cup?
The exceeded expectations slightly. The fact that they won their group for the first time in 80 years, I don’t think anyone was expecting that. A lot of people say the group was weak, but anytime you can draw with England and take care of business in the other two games, that’s a solid accomplishment. On the other hand they went out in the second round, which a lot of people expected, so you can make the argument that they met expectations, but I would kick it up a few notches higher than that.
Q: How do you evaluate Bob Bradley’s performance as a manager in this World Cup?
On the whole I think he did pretty well. It’s easy to look at back on the game in hindsight and say, “Clearly he shouldn’t have started Ricardo Clark and Robbie Findley”, but I think if you pick a part that decision you have to put yourself in his shoes at the time he made the decision. The fact is the U.S. was coming off of two very intense, exhausting games against Slovenia and Algeria, and I think the logic of putting someone in the midfield who was a little bit fresher, that makes sense to me.
In terms of Findley, the U.S. offense was predicated on having Donovan and Dempsey pinch in and tuck into the middle and have the fullbacks overlap, but if you’re going to do that you need a guy who is going to stretch the defense vertically, so from that standpoint, putting Findley back into the line-up makes sense as well. Clearly, it didn’t work out as Bradley planned, but I think you need to give Bradley credit that he didn’t wait around until halftime and make changes then. He knew that the American’s tournament was on the line, he made changes, and I think they worked pretty well.
One thing a lot of people forget is when extra-time started Bradley had the right guys on the field, and they still coughed up a goal that was very preventable. That to me comes down to the players, not the coach.
Q: Has the American’s talent been overrated, or has the team underperformed to their ability?
I don’t think we’ve been overrating the U.S.’s talent. Coming into the tournament most people expected the team to make the second round and they did that. Could they have gone further? I think they could have. It wasn’t like they were dominated versus Ghana. Yes the first thirty minutes were looking pretty grim, but the U.S. as they so often do gathered themselves, rallied, made a game of it and took the match into extra time.
Rolling image man extraordinaire Jay Bell sends us a little historic tribute to the USA versus England match-up.
Pretty cool…even though there is not flyover of the surf at Crayfish Factor, Misty Cliffs or Nordhoek. Man, those are great surf spots.
Courtesy of The Times.
*Note, this is not nearly as good as the little fake spat between Ireland and France from a few months ago.
From: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
To: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
Subject: World Cup Bet
Mr. Longden, It has not escaped our attention that a certain sporting event is fast approaching, and that our respective nations will soon be meeting on the fields of South Africa.
My Ambassador has asked me to see if your Ambassador might be interested in a small wager? We will understand if you decline, given the outcome of the last such encounter.
Sincerely, Philip Breeden, U.S. Embassy, London
From: Martin Longden, British Embassy Washington DC
To: Philip Breeden, US Embassy London
Subject: Re: World Cup Bet
Even for such an exceptionally optimistic nation as the United States, I am struck by the confidence with which your Ambassador proposes this wager. It is testament, I assume, to the generosity of your great nation – since the British Ambassador does not anticipate paying out.
Your email does not specify the exact terms of the wager. May I suggest that, in the event of an England victory, the US Ambassador agrees to entertain the British Ambassador at a steak-house of his choosing in downtown DC? And in the event that the United States is able to engineer a fortuitous win over England, then my man will entertain yours at a London pub of his choosing. Loser pays.
Your reference to a previous sporting encounter between our two countries puzzles me. Since the history of English football is long and extensive, in contradistinction to US soccer, I regret that I cannot immediately recall the encounter to which you refer. No doubt it is remembered fondly on these shores; we have quite forgotten it, however.
Are you sure you want to do this?
Yours sincerely, Martin Longden British Embassy Washington DC
….as told to guest writer Brian Mechanick.
The leaders of U.S. soccer journalism are clear: Grant Wahl, Ives Galracep, and Steve Goff. But with ESPN ramping up its soccer coverage to unprecedented levels, one writer in its empire has emerged as one of the leading new voices covering all of American soccer: Jeff Carlisle. No other writer at “The Worldwide Leader” brings the mix of thoughtful analysis and sheer American soccer know-how that Carlisle does.
Carlisle has produced some of ESPN’s best written content lately, highlighted by his recent article exploring the failure of the USMNT from 1950 to 1990. Jeff began his soccer journalism career in 2002 with QuakeMagic.com, where he covered the San Jose Earthquakes and San Jose CyberRays of the short-lived WUSA. He has written for ESPN.com since 2005, covering MLS as well as the U.S. men’s national team.
Jeff and I had the opportunity to have an in-depth conversation this past Wednesday. We discussed his career, the future of ESPN’s soccer coverage, and what to expect at World Cup 2010 for the Yanks right before left on his one of the bigger assignment of his career, an excursion to South Africa.
Q: When you were writing about the San Jose Cyber Rays for Quakemagic.com did you think that in eight years you were going to be writing for ESPN and going to South Africa to cover the World Cup?
It was always a goal, but you never know how things are going to work out. You have those dreams but you just try to take it step by step. I’ve been very fortunate, a lot of times I was just in the right place at the right time. It certainly worked well though.
Q: There has been a blowout of the coverage to promote the World Cup at ESPN, do you see the network carrying this momentum through and promoting soccer after the World Cup or is it more of a one-off promotion akin to the Olympics?
I don’t think it’s a one-off. When you look at the other properties that ESPN purchased on the broadcast side, they are still broadcasting MLS games, they have the rights for the next World Cup and they showed the European Championships two years ago.
I see them continuing to make a huge commitment to soccer. It’s a growing sport, but it’s fragmented with MLS fans, EPL fans, national team fans, and those don’t necessarily all overlap. The [executives] are long-term thinkers, and they’re not only trying to make money today, but also make money down the road, so I don’t see this as a one-off.
Q: The ESPN Soccernet website you write for, specifically on the U.S. front, has undergone a lot of changes in the last six months. Where do you see the website going forward and what do you see as your role with the site?
A lot of things were done specifically for the World Cup and I think that is why the U.S. page made such a transformation, but it is very World Cup-centric. I don’t make the decisions, but I do see it going back to what it was….a catchall U.S. page, whether it was the national team (men and women), MLS, WPS, college, and all that stuff. After the World Cup, when some of the stuff dies down, I think things are going to back to the way they were.
As far as my role, I’ve got a contract with them for the next year, so I don’t see my role changing after the World Cup. The people I talk to–they are pretty excited about soccer–and they just hired a new soccer-specific editor.
I think that speaks to the number of stories they see soccer producing.
TSG had the occasion a little more than a week ago to speak with a fellow reporter across the pond, ESPN’s Rebecca Lowe.
Lowe is formerly of both Setanta Sport and the BBC, but now co-hosts ESPN’s Premiere League show. She’s an ardent Crystal Palace supporter and childhood acquaintance of Peter Crouch, who she says was known more for carrying a tennis racket around before playing soccer…or making ladies swoon.
Here’s an excerpt of what we spoke about.
TSG: If you ask American fans and they look at the England team, they see a little bit of infighting, challenges at goalie position per usual, and questions in the holding midfielder role.
What’s your take?
Rebecca Lowe: I think the interesting questions for England are in the midfield. We’ve got the Gareth Barry issue who some would say that his name is the second one on the team sheet after Wayne Rooney. He’s an unsung hero, you just don’t notice him…..possibly that means…some people say that makes a great player, especially in midfield.
He works hard and does the hard work. And he’s very very good at it.
However with the injury, his exact place on the team is still up in the air.
I think Fabio Capello desperately will try and get Gareth Barry playing in the World Cup.
As for the team, I think the general feeling amongst the team is good.
I’m a little worried that it’s been such a good build up.
I think sometimes with World Cups…sometimes a couple of defeats in the warm-up games or a couple of difficult things going on in camp can sometimes pull the squad together.
And although we had the John Terry saga, that’s kind of blown over and I thought it would.
And now everything seems to be fairly peaceful. I just wonder whether that’s a good thing.
Sometimes some infighting and some scandal; a seige mentality, perhaps, is good to pull a team together.
I don’t want them to travel to Africa thinking it’s a breeze.
TSG: That’s truly spoken like the English media!
I’m going to follow up on Gareth Barry for a second. There is no question he’s a good player, but there are some questions about whether he can play the cover defense that’s needed in the holding midfielder role and then help link the offense.
If you ask me, that’s a place where the States can attack the Lions the most. Thoughts?
RL: Well, that’s really interesting. So interesting to hear another point of view on the England team from outside. I don’t get to hear from other football writers in other countries all too often.
I would agree with you.
I think Gareth Barry is a top class player but he hasn’t had a ton of international experience.
Even if he does play, I don’t think you’re wrong. I wouldn’t say he’s world class.
I think he’s a good solid player, but I take the point, but that’s not greatest area of strength for England.
Michael Carrick’s a patchy player and I don’t have a lot of confidence in him and that’s who else we have.
I take on board what you’re thinking about Barry and I concede it. I wish we had Owen Hargreaves of course.