NBC hires Seattle's Arlo White as voice of soccer

NBC Sports, the newest TV home for MLS, may be more than three months away from televising its first-ever MLS match, but the network has already made a major splash with the hiring of its new voice for soccer.

The Peacock network announced on Wednesday that former Seattle Sounders man Arlo White (photo courtesy of Seattle Sounders/Corky Trewin) will handle play-by-play duties for MLS and US national team games on NBC and NBC Sports Network, which launches on January 2, 2012, in a rebrand of the Versus channel.

“Arlo is one of the top voices calling soccer today in the US, and we are very excited to have him be the lead play-by-play announcer to launch our new agreement with Major League Soccer,” said Sam Flood, executive producer of NBC Sports and NBC Sports Network in a statement. “I also want to sincerely thank the Seattle Sounders FC ownership for making Arlo available, so he can be the MLS voice for the NBC Sports Group to a national audience.”

Recognized as one of the top soccer broadcasters in MLS circles, White will handle 46 MLS matches and four US games. The majority of matches will be seen on the NBC Sports Network with three MLS regular-season matches and two playoff matches aired on NBC as well as two USMNT matches.

White’s debut will come on March 11, 2012, the first match that kicks off the three-year rights agreement between NBC and MLS.

“It is a tremendous honor for me to join the NBC Sports Group, an organization that I have revered from afar for many years,” White said in an NBC statement. “I am extremely passionate about the future of Major League Soccer, and this partnership with NBC will provide a huge boost for the sport in the United States. I am very proud to have been called up to play a major role in it.

A native of England, White was the voice of the Seattle Sounders beginning with the 2010 season. Before his work in Seattle, he spent nine years with BBC Radio Sport and BBC Radio 5-Live, where he served as host and commentator.  

“I am indebted to the Seattle Sounders FC and the club's wonderful fans,” continued White. “[Sounders owners] Joe Roth and Adrian Hanauer provided me with an opportunity for which I will always be grateful. It was a privilege to serve as the voice of the Sounders, and I thank the supporters for giving me such a warm welcome.”

WATCH: White calls Tyson Wahl's free kick goal against New England