ESPN Names 12 Accomplished Soccer Experts for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 Coverage
- Ian Darke and Julie Foudy lead match commentary team
- Soccer legend Steffi Jones and 2021 FIFA Best Women’s Coach Emma Hayes make their U.S. TV debut
ESPN today announced an accomplished lineup of commentators, studio hosts, analysts, and a reporter, for its upcoming presentation of the UEFA Women’s European Football Championship 2022 (July 6 – 31). The roster combines ESPN experts, led by the critically acclaimed commentary team of Ian Darke and Julie Foudy, with headliners from Europe making their ESPN debut – Germany women soccer legend and three-time European champion Steffi Jones and 2020-21 FIFA Best Women’s Coach Emma Hayes.
Jenn Hildreth and Jonathan Yardley, women’s soccer voices familiar to U.S. fans, join Darke as play-by-play commentators. The roster includes two former U.S. Women’s National Team players Lori Lindsey and Danielle Slaton. ESPN FC’s Kay Murray and Futbol Americas Sebastian Salazar will co-host studio shows and segments. ESPN’s UK-based journalist Alexis Nunes will be the reporter, while Christina Unkel rounds out the team as the rules analyst.
“We are thrilled to have this lineup of commentators on our coverage of UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. Their experience and knowledge is world class,” said ESPN coordinating producer Matt Leach. “We look forward to how their insight will better inform and entertain our viewers.”
ESPN’s match commentary and studio voices will be based in Bristol, Conn. Throughout the tournament, they will appear on various programs, including SportsCenter, ESPN FC, and Futbol Americas.
Brief bios for ESPN’s Women’s EURO 2022 commentators:
Ian Darke and Julie Foudy: Darke and Foudy return as ESPN’s lead commentary team for UEFA Women’s EURO 2022. Their partnership in the booth dates back to FIFA Women’s World Cup 2011 in Germany, where Darke provided some of the most memorable calls in the sport for Abby Wambach’s improbable goal in the 122nd minute of the U.S. Women’s National Team quarterfinal match against Brazil.
- Darke has been a soccer play-by-play voice for ESPN since the FIFA World Cup 2010 South Africa. He called the 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup tournaments, the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup, as well as UEFA EURO championships in 2012, 2016 and 2020 – voicing the Final in five of the six international tournaments.
- Foudy is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and two-time Olympic gold medalist, and soccer hall-of-famer following a USWNT career that featured 274 appearances from 1988-2004. Foudy joined ESPN in 2005. She has been a part of every major soccer event at ESPN since her television debut while an active player during the 1998 FIFA World Cup. She has also contributed to ESPN’s coverage of the Olympics, while expanding her roles to include feature reporting, podcasting, and writing for espnW.
Jenn Hildreth and Lori Lindsey: Hildreth and Lindsey are familiar to fans of the National Women’s Soccer League (NWSL), the top women’s soccer league in the United States. The duo have commentated several NWSL games together.
- Hildreth is one of the industry’s most versatile play-by-play commentators. She calls the NCAA Women’s College Cup for ESPN and the NWSL for CBS Sports. She was a part of the 2015 and 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup commentary team for FOX Sports, and the 2020 Summer Olympics for NBC Sports. Beyond soccer, her résumé includes play-by-play duties for college basketball, softball, and gymnastics, studio hosting, and sideline reporting.
- Lindsey is a former U.S. Women’s National Team player whose career spanned 13 years. She is one of only four players in all three of the U.S. professional women’s soccer leagues – Women’s United Soccer Association (WUSA), Women’s Professional Soccer (WPS) and the NWSL. Lindsey’s sports broadcasting credits include commentating on the NWSL, MLS, USL, and the NCAA.
Jonathan Yardley and Danielle Slaton: Yardley and Slaton complete the three ESPN commentary teams for EURO 2022.
- Yardley made his ESPN debut in 2012. He has been a play-by-play commentator on college sports and professional soccer for the network, including serving as a leading voice on women’s soccer at the collegiate, professional, and international level since 2014. Yardley led ESPN’s game coverage of the most recent UEFA Women’s European Championship in 2017, as well as the 2021 UEFA Men’s Under-21 Championship and the 2014 FIFA Under-20 Women’s World Cup. In addition to soccer, his play-by-play experience includes covering the NBA and college football, basketball, baseball, and softball.
- Slaton played soccer for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 2000-2005, earning a silver medal at the 2000 Olympic Games and a bronze at the 2003 Women’s World Cup. Professionally, Slaton won the Women’s United Soccer Association championship with the Carolina Courage in 2002, and played for Olympique Lyonnais in France. Slaton is an analyst for San Jose Earthquakes home matches on NBC Sports Bay Area. Slaton was a match analyst for 2019 FIFA Women’s World Cup.
- Kay Murray – An ESPN soccer host since 2019, Murray appears regularly on coverage of major soccer events, including FA Cup, UEFA Nations League, and more. She is the primary host for Bundesliga on ABC, ESPN+, and ESPN. Murray also serves as co-host of ESPN FCand LaLiga on ESPN platforms. She has worked with BeIN Sports, Real Madrid TV, and Boro TV, the official channel of her hometown club, Middlesbrough FC in the U.K. Murray’s ESPN credits include serving as a UEFA EURO 2020 studio host.
- Sebastian Salazar – Salazar has been a host, reporter, and play-by-play voice for soccer since joining ESPN in 2016. He co-hosts the critically acclaimed Futbol Americas on ESPN+, alongside former U.S. Men’s National Team star Herculez Gomez, and regularly appears on ESPN FC. Salazar covered the Mexican National Team for ESPN during the 2018 FIFA World Cup. His other soccer assignments have included MLS, the International Champions Cup, the U.S. Women’s National Team, and more. He served as a studio host during ESPN’s presentation of UEFA EURO 2020.
- Steffi Jones –One of the most accomplished women soccer players, Jones played for the Germany Women’s National Team from 1993-2007. In her prime, she was one of the best defenders. Jones won the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup and three consecutive UEFA Women’s EURO Championship titles in 1997, 2001 and 2005. She also played for the Washington Freedom in Women’s United Soccer Association. Jones was president of the organizing committee for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, and later managed the women’s national from 2016-’18.
- Emma Hayes – After leading Chelsea FC Women to 12 titles in seven seasons, Hayes was named FIFA Best Women’s Coach in January 2022. She is considered one of the best minds in the sport, male or female. She assumed the helm at Chelsea in August 2012 after successful tenures at the different levels of the sport in the United States – W-League’s Long Island Lady Riders; Iona College in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference (MAAC), and Chicago Red Stars in the Women’s Professional League.
Foudy, Lindsey, and Slaton will join the studio team when they are not calling games.
- Christina Unkel – Former USA FIFA Referee and PRO NWSL Referee, and MLS VAR (Video Assistant Referee), Unkel has officiated at the highest international and professional levels for over 10 years. She has brought her years of officiating experience to the viewers as the laws and rules analyst on the coverage of top soccer competitions by major U.S. networks, including FIFA Women’s World Cup, UEFA Champions League, UEFA Europa League, and Europa Conference League, FIFA World Cup Qualifiers, and Serie A.
- Alexis Nunes –A host and reporter for ESPN for the past seven years, Nunes covers football for ESPN FC and cricket for ESPN Caribbean. Since moving to London in 2019, Nunes has covered the FA Cup and other major UK events for ESPN, and from August 2021, she has been one of the leading television reporters for ESPN’s match and studio coverage of LaLiga. At EURO 2020, Nunes reported on select games and the Final at Wembley Stadium.
About UEFA Women’s EURO 2022:
UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 is a quadrennial competition among national teams representing member countries of the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA). Sweden won the first championship, held in 1984, with four teams – Denmark, England, Italy, and Sweden.
Rescheduled from July 2021 due to COVID 19 pandemic, UEFA Women’s EURO 2022 will feature 16 teams competing to be champions of Europe. With 12 of the 16 teams ranked in the top 20 of FIFA rankings for women’s football, the tournament is arguably the most-competitive international soccer tournament in the world. The competition in July will be the 13th edition of the European women’s championship.
The 31 tournament matches will be played across 10 stadiums in eight English cities, including the opening match at Old Trafford and the final at Wembley Stadium. Netherlands returns to the tournament as champions of Europe, having won the UEFA Women’s EURO 2017. Germany holds the record with eight of the 12 titles.
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ESPN: Mac Nwulu ([email protected]), Santa Brito ([email protected])
ESPN+: Olivia Wilson ([email protected]), Christine Calcagno ([email protected])