Monday, July 25, 2011

Who put the weight of the world on my shoulders....

Afternoon all

The last few weeks seem to have presented me with compliment after compliment. Can I just say, thank you to everyone who has spoken kind words about me an our broadcasting team, it really does make a huge difference when we know our work is appreciated. Its now got to the stage where a handful of people, including writer Andy Weibe have said to me 'you are the best announcer the team has ever had', someone even said a few weeks ago 'we have the best announcer in MLS', I find that very hard to believe and know its not the case, but either way, thank you for your kinds words. I can certainly feel myself getting better and better and I thoroughly believe i'm a much better and stronger broadcaster now, then i've ever been before. I'd also like to say thanks to the KC Cauldron. Literally every time I walk past you guys after finishing my pre game show duties you always cheer me on, 'go get em cal' and 'we love you callum' are just some of the phrases shouted out that come to mind. Once again, thanks guys, it really does make a difference. Sorry I can't stop for a chat, but i've literally got 7 minutes to get up to the booth. If you want a chat, i'm usually in the members club after the game, so come and say hi. As I said though, i'd urge you guys to remember its a team effort and there wouldn't be a show without any of the guys in the back room. Once again, thank you guys so much for the support, we WILL continue to bring you one of the best broadcasts in MLS and strive to make it as best as possible. We hope you enjoy.

So another crazy week passes by. After working on some voice overs and research on Monday, I was given the opportunity to watch Newcastle Utd train at Swope Park on Tuesday. It was quite strange to be around so many english people again, but even stranger to be around an EPL side once again. Having watched the EPL and being involved in it for so many years, i'd always viewed these sort of games from a pre season perspective, but to now be on the other side and view them from an MLS perspective and see them as an 'important' game was very interesting. The press conference was very good and Alan Pardew spoke of how Sir Alex Ferguson had recommended he come to Kansas City for pre season. He also said, he could certainly see himself coming out to Major League Soccer one day and was very excited to be playing Sporting KC at Livestrong Sporting Park. Having said that, it wasn't that best game of soccer i'd ever seen but it once again proved that MLS teams can hold their own against an EPL side. I understand Newcastle weren't fully fit and the heat was an issue but I left Livestrong Sporting Park feeling very proud to be apart of the organization that remains unbeaten against EPL teams.

Thursday saw me back on the airwaves on 610 Sports Radio (rather surprisingly) after i'd been told I had no show for 6 weeks. Andy Edwards joined me for the show, which I enjoyed. Not sure I had enough callers to warrant getting Peter Vermes on the show, but never the less I thought it was good. Maybe if you guys ring in, in good numbers over the next few shows, we could get Pete in on a later date.

So on to Toronto FC and Saturday, Sporting had a chance to make it 12 games unbeaten in MLS and my goodness did they deliver! A fantastic performance saw them run out 4-2 winners over Toronto FC. I have to say, it was certainly one of the easier games to call because there was so much happening. I was excited to see Frings and Koevermans, the 2 new DP's for Toronto, but I have to say, our DP's Bravo and Jeferson stole the show! I'm very much looking forward to watching Jeferson blend into this side, he already looks like a very handy acquisition. The ball he played through for Bravo for goal number 3 was so delicate. I honestly believe none of our other midfielders could have pulled of that kind of pass the way he did.

We host New England Revolution on Saturday at Livestrong Sporting Park, we'll be live on KSMO - TV once again from 7pm. See you there!



Monday, July 18, 2011

Lord don't slow me down

Hello there

Sorry, i'd noticed a few days ago i'd not updated the blog for over a month! Apologies, the last month or so has been ridiculously busy.

So, lets rewind a little and go back to our first TV broadcast at Livestrong Sporting Park. After a production meeting with Chris Wyche and the two new guys i'd be working with for the home broadcasts (Rudy and Brad) we finally got under way. I sat alongside Sasha Victorine at our brand new outside studio with several camera's at the ready, it was clear we were going big for the first broadcast, which is exactly how I wanted to approach it. I really enjoyed hosting the show from the booth as well as our new outside area that day, with Sasha down on the field, but I also really enjoyed calling the game on my own; something I hadn't done for a long time. I think it went well and we all left the the stadium reasonably happy with what we'd produced.

A few days before this, i'd one again been given a new partner in the booth and little did I know, this one was here to stay. Jake Yadrich, our cameraman and the guy who is key to making everything work together in the show was given the opportunity, to which he impressed. He was therefore given another shot in Portland. We traveled to another destination i'd never have thought I would visit, I certainly didn't ever vision myself calling a soccer game there. I have to say, Portland was fantastic! One of my favorite city's without a shadow of a doubt. The amount of Portland Timbers merchandise, logo's and jersey's was fantastic and its probably the closest soccer city to a place with an EPL team; I see no reason why we can't do this in Kansas City. The atmosphere was once again, fantastic. It seems Seattle and Portland love their soccer. The recently renovated Jeld-Wen Field was brilliant, they really have done a great job making that place a soccer venue. Anyway, despite the fabulous atmosphere from the fans who I have no doubt bleed green blood, Sporting KC got a 2-1 win on the road; arguably their best yet.

After a few more interviews with local media plus a Skype interview from London, the week had arrived when 2 friends of mine were in town. Hannah, a very good friend of mine who i'd grown up through high school with and her boyfriend TJ are currently traveling through the USA from the western coast across to Florida via Kansas City and New York City before taking a cruise down to the Cayman Islands and Jamaica. It was great to see them both as it was the first physical contact i'd had with someone from back home in over 4 months. The first night Spencer and I took them down to the plaza for a few drinks and a catch up. We were soon to be joined by Dan as well. The guys in the stadium managed to sort out some credentials for both Han and TJ for the games against Colorado Rapids and Chivas USA. I must admit, as we were broadcasting the Colorado Rapids pre game show, I spotted Hannah and TJ out of the corner of my eye taking a picture as I lead into asking Sasha a question. It was quite surreal seeing them both there at Livestrong Sporting Park, but never the less it was an experience they both enjoyed. Several more evenings passed with Han and TJ. They saw the likes of Westport, Brookside, Power and Light and much more during their time in KC. As we broadcast the Chivas USA game on the Saturday, Han and TJ continued to follow me and enjoy the sights of LSP. We walked past the KC Cauldron to several shouts of 'go get em cal' and 'callum we love you', which I have to say made me smile. Just a quick shout out to those guys in the Cauldron, as long as you guys, my producer and the owners are happy with my work, then thats all that matters. I had a great week with Han and TJ and it was topped off by getting TJ on my 610 radio show to talk about the EPL for a little while. He was nervous, but said to me after he really enjoyed it and I have to say, for his first time on the radio, I thought he did very well. They're in New York now and due to fly to Florida within the next few days.

Last week was interesting, we obviously crashed out of the Open Cup to the Richmond Kickers, which for me had to be the most disappointing result of the season. I genuinely believe there was a huge opportunity to win that trophy this year, especially now with New York going out as well. Either way, we had a game in Houston to worry about next...

So, eventually we got going in Houston. I'd been told of the vast humidity and heat down south and once again with my naive british way of thinking thought, 'surely not'. Goodness me it was absolutely boiling! I don't think i've ever experienced a heat like it. It was very uncomfortable actually. We also laughed when we realized that our broadcasting 'booth' hadn't got air conditioning anywhere near as good as the Houston press had. With the heat from Houston and the lighting, the broadcast became quite uncomfortable at certain times. I also think playing against 9 men, you have to capitalize. With the signing of Jefferson confirmed, I have no doubt he'll add a certain spark to our midfield and provide much more creativity, however, I still think Sporting KC could do with a dirty, nasty, horrible goal scorer. Whether we have that already remains to be seen, but I think its something Sporting needs.

We host Newcastle Utd at Livestrong Sporting Park on Wednesday evening. No TV broadcast unfortunately. We were due to be live on Fox Soccer Channel with me doing the call, but for several reasons that was dropped a week or so ago. We can't do it on KSMO because they don't have the rights to show games that aren't MLS and a livestream is to expensive. So, we'll wait and see what happens, i'm currently working on another option, but I think its safe to say the best thing to do would be to actually go to the game. There are still tickets left, not many, so hurry up if you are going - 888 4KC GOAL the number to call.

We host Toronto FC next saturday, I shall try and update the blog a few days after. Let the madness continue......