Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Roll with it

Awwwwwwwite (thats what i've been teaching the american's this week, if you are from the UK, please help me explain this)

Hope everyone is well

Its safe to say, i'm absolutely shattered. Last week was another good week leading up to the broadcast. I finally managed to get my credit card sorted so I can now start to properly live and spend some money. Once again, the amount of research I did for the New England Revolution game was more then was probably needed, but as an announcer i'd rather have to much then to little. Major League Soccer provide us with 'game notes' a day or two before the broadcast, which includes some brilliant stats and facts, but I always like to do my own research as an add on to that so I know what I have in front of me. I suppose its down to the different, more personal style all announcers have whilst researching. You put certain things in certain places and you feel more comfortable knowing its written in you're own terminology.

Wednesday saw me travel down to Swope Park Training Facilities to once again watch the team train and make notes of formations, style of play of certain players etc. I was particularly interested in watching new french defender Aurelien Collin who'd now joined the club from Portugal after a lengthy dispute with his club. I'd had a tip off that he was going to start the game in New England, so watching him and his movement came as a particular interest to me. After training I interviewed Collin, who being from europe also, seems to have struggled with coming to terms with the word 'soccer'. I asked him what he thought of the 'soccer' here in the USA. He looked at me with a confused face and said 'i'm sorry, what?' He got it in the end and we soon realized had I of said 'football' he would have got it straight away. After that I spoke with goalkeeper Jimmy Neilsen and I have to say, he, along with Davy Arnua, Ryan Smith (and i'd probably put Kei Kamara, Eric Kronberg, Chance Myers and Matt Besler in this bracket) have made me feel the most welcome out of all of the players. All of them have been great with me, but I feel as though I could actually sit down at a bar with these guys and talk all night. I believe my interview with Jimmy Neilsen is on somewhere.

We flew to New England via Chicago (just for a change) and got to the hotel on the friday evening. We stayed literally over the road from the giant 'Gillette Stadium' which meant a lie in for me in the morning. So, on we went to sample a few of the local bars and grab something to eat.

The next morning I woke up and once again seem to have developed this habit of listening to TalkSPORT or watching Final Score to see how the season in the UK is going at arguably its most crucial stage. So after doing that and working on the script and adding more extra bits to my notes during the day, Sasha (who'd arrived earlier in the afternoon) and I went over to the stadium.

I think the broadcast was the best we've done yet. The guys in the truck were sharp as per usual and I certainly felt Sasha and I delivered a good service on the broadcast. Everything went relatively smoothly at my end until the final part of the show. I'd asked Sasha perhaps a question to many and hadn't heard anything from Chris in my earpiece. I noticed Sasha's face getting whiter and whiter, so I reached into my pocket to find my connecter (that connects to my earpiece so I can here Chris in the production truck) had fallen out by half an inch. I quickly pushed it back in to hear cry's of 'get out, get out, we have to finish now!' So, we did, just about. We had a giggle about it after whilst supping a few beers.

Sunday was once again spent traveling with 3/4 hours sleep due to the early wake up call, but Dan and I had the rest of the day to chill out. Monday was spent working on the broadcast once again, coming up with ideas for future shows, recording voice overs amongst other things.

Tuesday started bright and early for everyone associated with the front office. We had an all staff meeting at 8.00am to discuss several things, find out what's going on in other departments and introduce 2 or 3 new faces. Once again work on the broadcast continued before I went to view 4/5 apartments. Some were nicer then others but I can honestly say I only have 1 real option out of the apartments I saw. I believe I have a few more to view next week. Its getting very frustrating at the moment, I seem to find something promising and then it dies down at the end because of several issues.

Wednesday night is out 'soccer night' so our team are off to play after a 7-3 win and 5-5 tie last week. Looking forward to the press conference tomorrow to see what Peter Vermes has to say looking ahead to the game in New York. Really looking forward to my first ever visit to the 'big apple' but i'm told we're actually staying in New Jersey and nowhere near the likes of 'times square'........ gutted. However, looking forward to a game which I think will be entertaining, both teams scoring plenty of goals at the moment and looking forward to watching the New York frontline. I saw Luke Rodgers for Notts County last season, he's taken really well to Major League Soccer (much to my surprise). We obviously get to watch mr va va voom himself, Thierry Henry, but i'm mostly looking forward to watching the teenage sensation, Juan Agudelo, only 18, he's taken the league by storm. We obviously don't have Sasha for the away games now, no idea who my color commentator is, but hey, we'll just roll with it.

Thanks for reading again guys, you're thoughts are always welcome. Don't forget we're on KSMO TV at 6pm CT on Saturday and 9.30 CT on Sunday evening for 'Off the Pitch'



Monday, April 18, 2011


Afternoon all

'Plenty to talk about' - as there always is when it comes to Sporting Kansas City. Lets tell you a little about my week.......

So, last week was quite mad. Monday saw Spence and I nip across to the 'Kansas City Star' to participate in a podcast with 'Star' soccer writer, Charles Gooch. We discussed many things and I believe it went down well. Having started on Monday, Tuesday saw me continue to prep for the show in Columbus as well as sit down and talk to some of the owners and executives about the broadcast and things that they maybe would like to see. Wednesday and Thursday saw me spend quite a lot of time at 'Swope Park' training facility, to interview some of the players for our 2 TV shows. In this time I also sat down with a few other people in the front office to discuss the progression of broadcasting within the team. We have one or two announcements which will come up sooner rather then later. Its nothing major, don't get too excited, but it'll certainly increase the output of the team. During the week I also saw my interview with KCTV 5 go to air, which I once again, believe went down well, especially with the guys back in the UK. However, the famous 'theres only so much you can do on Skype' didn't!
If you haven't seen it, here it is -

Also another post that came up on the web, was my last interview with the club (Chesterfield) I spent most of my time covering for the BBC. Once again, if you haven't seen it, here it is -

Friday saw us fly to St.Louis. Here, Dan and I were stuck in the air for an extra half an our before the storms in St.Louis passed over. I'm usually Ok with flying, never been a great flyer, but i'm Ok. I have to say, that was the worst flight ever and I genuinely thought we were going to die. So anyway, we then fly to Columbus and end up going for a few beers with Mike Flaherty. It was so cold and wet in Columbus, we turned one corner and it was like a 'rain tornado', so we decided to grab a cab to travel up a couple of blocks. How lazy is that!

After a morning of relaxing and going through the scripts for the show, Sasha and I made our way to 'The Crew Stadium' the first stadium, specifically built for soccer in the USA. The broadcast went well, however I was slightly annoyed with my delivery. The timing of the whole thing went well but in sacrifice, I think my delivery was poor. I also need to add - what a terrible game that was. An absolutely awful advert for Major League Soccer. My dad text me the day after and said he managed to watch our feed online. I said to him 'of all the games you chose to introduce yourself to MLS too', lets be honest it was awful. Sasha, Dan and I met up with one of Dan's old housemates on the evening and I got sample the night life of Ohio............ interesting. Never the less in true 'Rock n Roll' style, Dan and I crept back into the hotel at 2am and got up for a 6.15am wake up call.

Instead of heading on home, Chris, Dan and I flew to Chicago. Chris and Dan were there to take a look at how Chicago use their field boards amongst other stadium things. We met Justin up there who is there for the week, learning how to use and operate several things within the stadium for when we open ours up in June. We stayed there for the game and watch LA Galaxy defeat the Chicago Fire 2-1. I was glad we got to see the game, I must admit, I really do like Chicago. It was also good to see an old Aston Villa legend, Juan Pablo Angel take to the field for the final 15 minutes, just like the old days. I must say, even without their 3 DP's, Beckham, Donavan and Angel, LA look a very strong side.

We have plenty to work on again this week, I believe we have a very good and different feature for 'Off the Pitch' this weekend, so make sure you check that out.

So, it appears, we still have plenty to talk about. Same again this week I imagine.


Friday, April 8, 2011

Work hard, play hard

Hey guys

Hope everyone is well

Right then, having not long finished lunch after filming the final part of our Sunday night show 'Off the Pitch' I thought i'd better do another one of these for you lot.

Week 4 - Another packed week passes by despite not having a game at the end of it. Monday and Tuesday was spent answering e-mail and dealing with the publicity side of this whole move to the USA. I've already done quite a few interviews but believe I am still wanted by the local newspaper 'The Kansas City Star' to appear on a podcast and one of the magazines here 'INK' I think its called wants to do a photo shoot. Tuesday, I saw Tottenham get crushed by Real Madrid whilst dealing with an MLS reporter who seemed to have a problem with me being british and working over here. He even had to audacity to more or less put me in the same bracket and lay some sort of blame on me for Stuart Holden's injury. I'm sure you all saw my response, so the less we talk about that, the better.  That evening, Dan and I left the office at the slightly earlier time of 5.30pm and straight away went to grab some pizza. It was a really lovely evening, it was warm out despite it being dark outside, so we sat out with a few beers whilst enjoying the pizza. Brian joined us eventually and as Adam came in from one of his 10,000 mile runs it of course gave us the ammunition to throw things and abuse him. We eventually went to bed and I rather shamefully woke up that Wednesday morning with a bit of a sore head, which I may add, quickly vanished after a strong coffee from Mildreds coffee shop, across the road from our offices. Wednesday we had planned to film part of 'Off the Pitch' but a rather random and late invite to my very first baseball game with one of the owner's son's Mike, could not be turned down. So there I was, my first baseball game in the USA. I'd never even watched a game in my life and there I was, firstly sitting in with the fans with the traditional hot dog and beer before Mike took me up to the broadcasting booth to meet up with some of the guys he knew from Chicago. We sat and talked about broadcasting for a while and then watched the guys call the game on the radio as the Kansas City Royals lost 10-7 to the Chicago White Sox (hope thats right). I later returned to the office to find out that Man Utd had gained the upper hand on Chelsea in the Champions League.

 Dan and I once again left at around 5.30pm (this was becoming a regularity!) but we proceeded in driving for miles to find some soccer gear for our game in the evening. It was a good laugh playing indoor soccer with some of the guys from the front office and at times we looked decent, but its safe to say, we were thoroughly smashed (9-3)! Guess who had to pick the ball out of the net! We did this whilst keeping an eye on Sporting Kansas City's game down in Houston in the Open Cup, which we now know they won 1-0 thanks to a great strike from Superdraft pick up CJ Sapong.

 Thursday saw us begin to shoot some of the show, after recording voice overs and teases for next weeks show in Columbus we began to film Sunday's which this week, due to having no game, would have a little bit of a twist. Our MLS reviewer Josh Whisenhunt (who you will have seen on our show doing the goal round ups) would step in for part of the show as the two of us gave our tactical analysis on the season so far; eventually. With Chris away at the Masters golf tournament and with no real experts around to advise us on how to use the equipment properly, Jake, Justin, Dan, Spence and Emmanuel tried to get their head around how to use the 'Tri Caster'. After several takes and Jake shouting 'F**k' on several occasions due to the equipment malfunctions we eventually got the segment with Josh done. At one stage I completely forgot what I was saying which meant another take and Dan who was talking to us via our earpieces didn't switch his radio on! That meant that Josh and I couldn't here anything he was saying, so we completely guessed our way through the part of the show and had no idea on timings or cues! So, now that you all know that, let us know what you think!

Friday, we got in early as per usual and after a while of going through the scripts and the broadcasting genius that is Jake Yadrich sorted out more technical problems, Sasha and I filmed the rest of the show with a little help from Betsy's dog, who at one stage was chasing Rob Heineman (one of the owners) down one of the isles! That seemed to take up most of the day and after shooting under the heat of the lights wearing a Sporting KC parker jacket I sent out an e-mail to the office begging for deodorant, which I eventually got and literally just this minute, i've had another thrown at me. I believe this evening Dan and I, along with Spencer, Adam and who knows who else are planning on a few beers, just for a chance.

My first proper day off since I got here beckons, no game for Sporting KC this weekend, so, who knows what the weekend will bring, but I suspect i'll be saying that for the rest of the year.



Tuesday, April 5, 2011

It's all my fault

Afternoon all

I didn't intend on writing another one of these until after the Houston game or at least until the end of the week. However I feel the need to write about a few things on a professional level.

I ask you to take a look at this article written by Paul Gardner -

So, first things first, it made me laugh but also slightly aggravated me because of the amount I was misquoted. Lets break this down shall we -

Yes, covering Major League Soccer is something i've always wanted to do, I don't know why, I really don't, but Paul Gardner, you have to accept the fact that I have a passion for this league and I want to help it grown. So yes, always? yes, that is right; mate. I wanted to inject some british passion into this league because lets face it, soccer is not the number 1 sport in this country, I want to help change that by using my knowledge of broadcasting and of the beautiful game.

I have no idea why Paul has put me in the same paragraph when describing Jonny Evans' horror tackle on Stuart Holden. Yep, it was a horrid tackle by Evans who I think said the wrong thing when he said it was 'passionate'; it was just a clumsy.

I believe Mr Gardner has misquoted me by saying -  (here we have Williams telling us that he is going to “improve the viewing experience of MLS soccer.” Maybe he is, but that sort of boasting, from a 21-year-old, comes over as something rather more obnoxious than passion) Well, Paul, you are wrong here, i actually said 'I want to be nothing more then a benefit to MLS and help it grow'. Apparently i've also said something else - Williams has also let us know that we’re just not good enough when it comes to TV. Really? I'd love to see this evidence of me actually saying that. Once again, this from Paul -here we have Williams telling us that he is going to “improve the viewing experience of MLS soccer.” Maybe he is, but that sort of boasting, from a 21-year-old, comes over as something rather more obnoxious than passion. I can tell you now I have never said I want to 'improve the viewing experience of MLS soccer' what I did say was ' I want to help make Sporting KC the most viewed club in Major League Soccer' simply because I think with the re-brand, I think we can do it this year. 

To some of the comments - 

Ric Fonseca - Ho-hum! PG, has a point, especially when he focuses on Callum Williams' attempt to instill some of the brit soccer passion on to the supporters/veiwers of Sporting KC: I agree with him, however, what can a mere kid of 21 years of age really know about football-soccer iether on iether side of the big pond? What are his soccer playing pedigrees? And where does he come off by stating that "covering MLS is something he's always wanted to do...(sic)" after all JUST WJHAT has he done in his very short lifepsan, at least since his teenager years??? Interestin

Ric, i've been involved in the broadcasting industry for the last 6 years and i've been calling games for the last 4! I've also worked in TV over in the UK for local TV stations and a worldwide broadcast TV station, so yes, yes indeed Ric, what have I done.

I'm not obnoxious, what so ever, i'm a 21 year old, who is fully aware that this is a fantastic opportunity, but i've worked incredibly hard so far in my life for not a lot of money, got a good gig at the BBC but when this came about, I couldn't turn it down. 

To all who read this, just know, I absolutely love soccer, its my absolute passion in life, I eat, breath and sleep soccer, if you have a problem with this, then so be it, but please, do not misquote me. 



Monday, April 4, 2011

A new beginning

Morning all in the USA; afternoon to all in the UK

I haven't blogged for about 3 years now because I didn't really see the need to, but after countless requests to start up a blog, I have finally admitted defeat.

I guess I should start by first telling you all about my first few weeks in the USA. So, here it goes -

Week 1 -

After a HUGE traveling time of 19 hours, 4 airports (Birmingham, Dublin, Chicago O'Hare and Kansas City) and leaving my loved ones behind, I finally arrived in my new home. I was greeted by Chris (Chris Wyche - Executive producer and the guy who hired me) and Dan Drelich (honorary button presser, all round good guy and my new housemate). It was late, from memory I think it was about 9pm CT, but never the less I was aware that there was some sort of 'meet and greet' with the fans and players in the city center in the evening, so, fresh off the plane we drove down to Johny's Tavern where I was introduced to what seemed about 50,000 people. I was soon greeted with a pint (which went down very nicely) and a humungous piece of pizza. After a couple of hours of chat with Sporting KC fans, I went back to the house for the first time with Dan and met up with my other 2 new house mates, Adam and Brian. Its safe to say, I slept like a baby.

My first day in the office came after an early wake up call, I was suited and booted (which i'd later regret after receiving lots of abuse) and ready for action. The week progressed fast and I spent most of that time at Swope Park training ground (Sporting KC's training facility) and back in the downstairs studio doing voice overs for the show and commercials. I was taken around the new stadium as well, which is gorgeous! I also managed to fit in a shopping trip to the local super market where I managed to buy food, a razor and a hair dryer....... exciting times. I also fitted in a night out on St.Patrick's day with my housemates and one of our interns (who's turned out to be a good mate); Spencer.

I must admit, that whole week was a struggle to stay awake and adjusting to the time change really did knock me about. So what did we do to make it better....... we traveled to another time zone. We landed in LA on Friday afternoon and I was immediately eating an 'in n out' burger (another healthy option). I must admit, I really didn't feel good on that evening, during rehearsals I was very quite and very, very tired. However, we went to get a bite to eat and had some sort of wrap which was nice, that made me feel better and rehearsals were Ok after that. So I woke up on Saturday morning feeling by no means 100%. Sasha and I arrived at the Home Depot Center around 3ish and Sasha took me on a tour of the stadium. We got to the broadcast eventually, I think it was obvious I was very tired and hosting a show was new to me. In the UK, i'd done TV before, but it was stuff like, attending press conferences and asking questions and doing features, but i'd never hosted a show before. So anyway, we got through the pre game show with a lot of technical issues, then came the call of the game, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I think Sasha and my call of the game came down very well with people and I believe a certain piece of 'mexican magic' pleased people. Traveling back to KC was tiring, we left at 6am but got back mid afternoon where Dan and I proceeded to play FIFA.

Week 2 -

Much of the same during the week, lots of voice overs were done, bits and bobs of research, the attending of practice at Swope Park. We also live streamed the first practice of Chad Ochocinco (NFL wideman), who was on trial with the club. We did a short interview with him after which was the subject of international interest, I believe we had over 8,000 viewers on that Monday morning. I gave about 3/4 interviews during the week to local press who were eager to here my story, very strange being interviewed when its usually you asking the questions. We traveled up to Chicago on the Friday leaving Spencer to catch the bus and endure a 10 hour journey...... ouch! I really liked Chicago, very cool city, just the kind of atmosphere I like. We got to the stadium, which was nice, were then treated to some lunch by the very tired Spence. Sasha and I pre recorded some of the Sunday evening show whilst Chris Wyche's daughter, Tasha, (who'd joined us for the trip) watched on. We got to the broadcast and I have to say, I felt a lot more comfortable in front of camera. We did the show and after Sporting's first loss of the season occurred, thanks to a 'moment of individual brilliance' from Marco Pappa we went back to the hotel but soon went out to sample the night life in Chicago. We'd had a couple of beers but soon we all felt very tired and went to bed at about 1AM. We believe our other assistant producers Eric and Craig (who will be starting up their own blog soon) stayed out and we had to laugh at Craig the following morning who looked like a lost puppy.

Week 3 -

Once again the week started with the word 'Ochocinco' on the edge of everyone's lips. We live streamed his first reserve game for the club and had several guests on the broadcast. The likes of defender Matt Besler, forward C.J. Sapong and youth team blogger (and my housemate) Adam Zydroik. Another 14/15 hour day passed by and it was made clear that Chad Ochocinco wasn't good enough to make the cut. Fair play to the guy, he had a dream and tried to follow it, but he just wasn't good enough. The rest of the week saw me mostly read up on notes and research the Vancouver Whitecaps (the weekends opponents). Some more voice overs followed as well as another press conference and training session at Swope Park. I also seemed to be receiving a huge amount of abuse for my accent during the week as well. Everyone in the office has been great, very welcoming and helpful, but they don't hold back when abusing a Brit! Thursday saw me travel over to the new stadium 'Livestrong Sporting Park' as the local TV station KCTV 5 wanted to interview me. I was interviewed by the local news anchor Bradley Stephens, who was a really nice guy. I think it airs on Thursday or Friday in KC. Dan, Adam and I went out for a few beers on the evening as Adam's brother was visiting. Friday morning we loaded the equipment into the cars with the help of Justin (one of our team members), Spence and our other intern Emmanuel (the candy man).

We flew down to Dallas, then up to Vancouver, what a long flight that was, but football manager, music, a Charley Boorman documentary and my iPhone kept me entertained. Vancouver was a really cool place, lots of action. It was my first time in Canada, we went for a bite to eat and a few beers around the city and met up with our camera man Jake and the kit man Mike, who had rather randomly bumped into a group of people from Kazakhstan. Anyway, we got to the stadium the day after and I have to say, for a temporary facility, it was very nice. We got in front of the camera and started the show, once again, I felt so much more comfortable then I did in the first week, I was also a lot more well rested! We think the show was our best yet and we really enjoyed our time up in Vancouver, its just a long 5 hour flight! I think the less I talk about the game, the better. We'll leave that for when we're on air. We managed to squeeze in a beer or two in the evening. Dan, Jake, Mike, Sasha and I hit the town before a 4.30AM wake up call and a long flight home. Dan and I finally got home, late in the afternoon, we went for BBQ ribs, I had burnt ends for the first time. Its safe to say, they went down very, very well.

Week 4 -

So today, week 4 starts, didn't go to training today because I believe there is a press conference tomorrow which I always enjoy. Plus, i've been working on this for you lot! Hope its lived up to expectations, not sure what i'm going to do yet, maybe a weekly blog, or I mat blog once every couple of days. I believe you can let me know your thoughts on this website, so if you can, please feel free, if not, i'm on @calwilliams2011 on Twitter.