BBC vet Arlo White, 36, to succeed Kevin Calabro as Sounders FC play-by-play broadcaster
Sounders FC will introduce its fans to the new TV and radio voice of the team, Arlo White, at an event Wednesday in Seattle.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Latest from the Sounders FC blog
RENTON — Arlo White is a young-looking 36 years old, but he has packed a lot of sports broadcasting into his years.
The native of Leicester, England, has called the past five Super Bowls for the BBC. He has handled studio and match duties for English Premier League soccer matches on TV and radio for the past nine years, and called cricket matches all over the world.
Through it all, he has always loved the United States, its culture, its sports, its variety. So when Sounders FC contacted him after Christmas to talk about a job opportunity with the club, White was all ears.
White will be introduced as Sounders FC's new play-by-play man Wednesday. It's a move the club made to have stability in the broadcast booth after shuffling through fill-in announcers for matches when Kevin Calabro was away from the team for other commitments.
White was one of those replacements. After an audition on the night of the team's inaugural match, when he did a mock broadcast, White was brought in for the Sounders FC regular-season match against Houston last July at Qwest Field and was blown away by the atmosphere at the match.
"A great experience, and it just so happens to have led to this point, which is fantastic," White said Tuesday at Seahawks headquarters.
White will call all Sounders FC matches on simulcast (radio and TV at the same time) and will work alone. The team is not bringing back color commentator Greg Vanney from last season.
The Sounders approached Calabro, a Seattle sportscasting legend who called most of the team's games last season after 21 years with the Sonics, to talk about coming back after his one-year contract ended. The discussion led to the conclusion that the team wanted to have someone in place who could call every match, and Calabro's schedule was too packed with his local radio show and basketball commitments.
White had established himself in England and was next in line to take over as anchor for a high-ratings match-day show. But the rise of soccer in the U.S. and how much he enjoys the country brought him across the pond.
"I've reached a very good point at the BBC in the UK in terms of radio. Up until two weeks ago, I was going to two Premier League games a week and presenting big programs from these stadiums," White said.
"There has to be something big to entice you to get off that ladder. When I came to Seattle for the first time for opening night, it blew me away. Absolutely blew me away, and that was only reinforced by the second trip in July."
White is already somewhat of a hit with Sounders FC fans, many who recall the game he called and liked what they heard. White heard about the positive feedback from friends, and Wednesday, he'll get to meet some of those fans at George & Dragon Pub in Seattle's Fremont neighborhood.
"It's the passion of the supporters," White said. "Don't take this the wrong way, but it's not a soccer-mum audience. This is a proper football crowd. ... The passion of it is there. The organization that puts the Sounders on the field is second to none. Everywhere you look it's just class. So when you make a decision of that magnitude, it has to be the right thing to do, and it is."
• Sounders FC will play an exhibition match to benefit local charities March 11 against the Portland Timbers at Qwest Field. Tickets, which go on sale Wednesday at 10 a.m., are $10 for adults and $5 for youths ages 6-17. Kids under 6 are admitted free. Tickets can be purchased at www.SoundersFC.com, by calling 800-745-3000, all Ticketmaster outlets and the Qwest Field Box Office.
José Miguel Romero: 206-464-2409 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Sam and Sara Lucchese create handmade pasta out of their kitchen-garage adjacent to their Ballard home. Here, they illustrate the final steps in making pappardelle pasta.