Big Ten Network announcer Gus Johnson — a national favorite for his energetic and over-the-top style — will become the new voice of American soccer and call the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Fox, which beat ESPN to the rights to the 2018 and 2022 World Cup, is reportedly grooming Johnson, who just started calling San Jose Earthquakes games, to call the biggest sporting event in the world. He’ll get his first big assignment in a few days, when Real Madrid hosts Manchester United in a Champions League match Feb. 13.
The move to make Johnson the voice of American soccer is a daring one, particularly because Johnson doesn’t have much experience with soccer. According to Sports Illustrated, Johnson has been playing pickup soccer in New York to “feel and learn the game.” Still, the people at Fox believe there needs to be a definitive American voice for an American audience.