SEATTLE – Grabbing an up-and-comer from BBC Radio Sport worked well with former Sounders announcer Arlo White. Might as well try it again.
The Seattle Sounders nabbed 32-year-old Ross Fletcher as their new voice for television and radio, succeeding White, the new voice of soccer for NBC Sports. Fletcher, a seven-year veteran for England’s Derby County for BBC Radio Derby, will join retiring captain Kasey Keller in a two-person booth for the upcoming season.
“I’m hugely, hugely excited,” Fletcher told reporters during a conference call on Tuesday. “Also, massively privileged to be given the chance to come over and continue what has been an amazing journey so far for Seattle in the first three seasons in MLS.”
“I can’t wait to get started, particularly having Kasey Keller alongside me, as well, to do that double combo on the call,” Fletcher added. “To me, [it is] just a wonderful, wonderful chance to expand on my humble commentary career so far.”
With the popular White leaving to become the lead voice for NBC’s MLS coverage, the Sounders looked to England for his replacement. Incidentally, White and Fletcher hail from the same part of the country – the East Midlands.
“Me and Arlo go back many, many years – over 10 years – as BBC colleagues,” Fletcher said. “We’ve worked for a long time in a professional capacity at BBC Radio Sport, and bizarrely enough, back in the UK, we live about 10 minutes apart, surely by chance.”
Fletcher said he’d had preliminary discussions with the Vancouver Whitecaps organization about its broadcasting job during the 2010 Vancouver Olympics, but the talks didn’t advance past that. An avid skier, Fletcher cited the abundance of mountains in the Pacific Northwest and quality of life as key parts of his decision to take the job.
He also hoped to complement the experience of Keller – whom Fletcher called a “hero” – with his own enthusiasm and broadcasting expertise. The duo’s first match will be the season opener on March 17 at home against Toronto FC, as the Sounders’ two-leg CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal tie will be televised by FOX Soccer.