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Will be paired with top analyst Taylor Twellman on MLS, beginning in 2019
One of the world’s best soccer commentators is moving to the United States to join ESPN. Renowned British broadcaster Jon Champion, who has excelled at calling the English Premier League and top global football events for three decades will be ESPN’s new play-by-play voice for Major League Soccer. Beginning in 2019, Champion will be paired with top analyst Taylor Twellman on MLS matches. Champion, who has been part of ESPN’s FIFA World Cup, UEFA European Championship and other major events, will be a leading voice in the company’s year-round coverage of the sport.
This new role marks Champion’s second run as a full-time ESPN commentator. He was ESPN UK’s lead football announcer, covering the English Premier League, UEFA Europa League and the FA Cup Final from 2009-2013. Champion currently lives in the United Kingdom and will soon relocate to the United States with his family for this new, multi-year assignment.
“I am thrilled to be joining ESPN on a full-time basis to cover MLS and the other soccer properties now in the company’s growing portfolio,” said Champion. “It’s a big adventure to move my family to the U.S. and a significant personal challenge after more than 30 years of covering the sport in Europe. I’ve really enjoyed working on MLS on my frequent visits and now I get the chance to call the matches on a weekly basis and to relate the whole story as the league enters an exciting phase of its development.”
Champion added: “I’m also looking forward to working with Taylor Twellman, who has carved out such a strong reputation as an analyst. Taylor and I have had great fun when we’ve worked together in the past and it will be great to develop that rapport further.”
Champion joined ESPN in the United States in 2014 as a play-by-play commentator for the FIFA World Cup in Brazil – his first international soccer event for the U.S. audience. His work garnered critical acclaim and led to assignments on other marquee events, including the 2016 UEFA European Championship in France, UEFA’s FIFA World Cup qualifying matches, and the International Champions Cup (ICC) when he was the English-language voice of El Clásico Miami, the first-ever meeting in North America between Spain’s powerhouse club teams – Barcelona FC vs. Real Madrid – in July 2017.
“Jon is one of the most beloved voices in soccer, so we are thrilled that fans in the U.S. who have enjoyed his commentary during major global tournaments on ESPN will now have the opportunity to hear him weekly on Major League Soccer,” said Amy Rosenfeld, Senior Coordinating Producer, ESPN.
With his new role focused on MLS, Champion joins ESPN’s talented roster of soccer play-by-play voices, which also includes Ian Darke, Adrian Healey, Mark Donaldson, Max Bretos and others.
For the past 25 years, Champion’s voice has become synonymous with English football around the world. Since the inception of the English Premier League, he has called top matches each week providing the soundtrack to some of the sport’s most memorable moments to an international audience, including the United States.
Champion began his broadcasting career with BBC Radio in the 1980’s, covering his first World Cup in Italy at 25 years of age. In 1995, he was invited to join the commentary team on the iconic BBC TV show ‘Match of the Day’. In 2001, he transferred to ITV, where he called games in the English Premier League and the UEFA Champions League in addition to seven League Cup Finals.
In 2010, ESPN loaned the in-demand Champion back to ITV, where he called the FIFA World Cup in South Africa alongside former Scotland National Team player and ESPN FC analyst Craig Burley. In all, he has commentated on eight straight FIFA World Cup tournaments.