ESPN is giving its lead soccer play-by-play job back to an established soccer broadcaster with the announcement that JP Dellacamera will assume the top job for both Major League Soccer and U.S. National Team broadcasts.
Dellacamera’s hire ends the run of Dave O’Brien, who is one of ESPN’s better talents on Major League Baseball and college-basketball telecasts but was a controversial pick for ESPN to handle the last World Cup due to a perceived lack of background in the sport.
A longtime soccer commentator for ESPN and elsewhere, Dellacamera will now bring his experience of six World Cups to calling games featuring David Beckham and the rest of MLS.
Joining Dellacamera in the booth will be John Harkes, a former Fox Soccer Channel announcer who was previously a captain of the U.S. National Team, as well as an assistant coach in MLS. He replaces Eric Wynalda.
The new duo takes over prior to the 2008 MLS season and as qualifying nears for the 2010 World Cup. They will debut Feb. 6 in an exhibition between the U.S. and Mexico.
Allen Hopkins continues as a sideline reporter, as do Rob Stone and Julie Foudy in their studio roles.