The Portland Timbers announced on Monday the appointment of broadcaster Christian Miles as television play by play commentator for the remainder of the 2013 season. Miles is a veteran in the soccer world after nearly 15 years working for FOX Soccer, reporting on and calling games all around Europe.
Timbers owner Merritt Paulson alluded to the change in the booth on Sunday prior to Portland's 3-0 victory over the Colorado Rapids.
The "John/Robbie" referred to in Paulson's tweet are John Strong and Robbie Earle, the soon-to-be former television broadcast duo of the Portland Timbers.
NBC Sports chose Strong, the long-time Timbers play by play commentator, to succeed Arlo White, its new Premier League play by man, following the Englishman's return to his homeland after his MLS regular season finale this coming weekend. Earle has also been hand picked to join NBC's stable of color commentators ahead of the network's first season of Premier League broadcasts in August.
Strong called games for NBC Sports on many occasions in 2012, serving as the network's second-choice play by play commentator on weekends that NBC held multiple national broadcast rights. The 28-year old was also one of Fox Soccer's play-by-play commentators for CONCACAF Champions League and throughout the entirety of the 2012-13 Europa Leauge.
The general American soccer public should be very familiar with Strong's voice, if not his face as well. As an American, I am happy to see NBC brand an American commentator as its "next big thing." Arlo White was nothing short of fantastic during his time in MLS, but even he acknowledges that the American game needs an American voice:
"As you can see in his recent work on a national level, both with Fox and with NBC, [John] is very capable. And I think it's great that we at NBC Sports are developing an American voice for the American game."
Many people to thank. First, the Timbers: Ryan Brach and Chris Metz in '06, @MerrittPaulson and Mike Golub in '11, for giving me a chance— John Strong (@StrongMLS) June 24, 2013
Thanks to @arlowhite for giving NBC my name, and being a great friend. And to Kyle, Russ, Pierre, and Shaw for letting me join their team— John Strong (@StrongMLS) June 24, 2013
White's final MLS regular season game will be this weekend's Philadelphia Union versus FC Dallas clash at PPL Park. Strong's first NBC game will be a Cascadia Cup clash between the Seattle Sounders and Vancouver Whitecaps at BC Place on July 6. Strong's time with the Timbers has concluded, while Earle will remain the club's color commentator on a "when available" basis.
Which brings us back to the bit about Jimmy Conrad. The world needs Jimmy as a color commentator.