It was the 1986 World Cup that turned me from a kid who played one season of soccer into the lover of the sport that I am today. Diego Maradona and Argentina’s World Cup win in that tournament completely changed my life. I wanted to wear the #10 and Puma cleats for my next season of soccer at the Clayton County YMCA.
I also wanted to watch and listen to soccer. Every once in a while, a game would pop up on some random cable channel to watch. It was hard to become a passionate fan in those days, but I did the best I could. I read every soccer book in the library multiple times and could imagine what those games looked and sounded like.
I asked why we didn’t have a team in Atlanta like the Falcons, Hawks, and Braves. I was a huge sports fan and just didn’t understand why soccer wasn’t like the others at that time. I wanted to go to games, but I also wanted to watch them and listen to them like I did with the other sports. After I read about the history of the NASL and the Chiefs, I waited and hoped that one day it would change.
I remember when it was announced that the World Cup was coming to the U.S. I was excited, but I was even more excited about a league coming afterwards. I hoped Atlanta would get a team in Major League Soccer. I remember the city announcements and the disappointment after Atlanta’s early bid fell through. Every time a new rumor would pop up, the excitement would come back.
It wasn’t until Arthur Blank became involved that the rumors began to gain some traction. By this time, I was heavily involved in many aspects of soccer in Atlanta and knew the impact that a MLS team would in this city and region. When the announcement was made in 2014, things began to take off faster than even I could imagine. As one of the optimistic advocates of the sport in this city, even I have been amazed at the response from the supporters across the area.
As things have come together, my mind started going back to my childhood. I grew up listening to people like Skip Caray, Pete van Wieren, Ernie Johnson Sr., Steve Holman, and Larry Munson. I’ve loved all of our local teams and watched them on TV and listened on the radio. When I was a baseball loving kid, I would listen to Jack Buck on KMOX in St. Louis late at night, or Marty Brennaman and Joe Nuxhall on WLW in Cincinnati.
When we moved to Lexington, Kentucky while I was in middle school, listening to Braves games on WSB at night kept me feeling close to home. I’ll never forget being in the stands at Commonwealth Stadium for a Georgia football win over the Kentucky Wildcats during the 1992 World Series. Our seats were right next to the Georgia section, which was a big crowd of traveling fans. I had a radio with me, listening to Skip and Pete call the Braves game, and relaying the score to the Georgia fans. Jeff Hullinger’s call of the Morten Andersen’s field goal that sent the Falcons to their first Super Bowl, Skip Caray’s call of Sid Bream’s slide, Larry Munson’s call of Kevin Butler’s 60-yard-field goal to beat Clemson, these are all etched into my memory for eternity.
I’ve always loved sports on the radio. I can’t begin to tell you how much it means to me to be part of Atlanta United’s radio broadcasts for their inaugural season. I hope that Adam Schick and I can be that soundtrack for some of you out there. We’re both from Atlanta and we’re excited to represent our city on these broadcasts. Kickoff tonight can’t come fast enough!
Thanks to all of you who have read my work, listened to my radio appearances and podcasts, and supported my soccer passion. I can’t thank my family and Ashley enough for helping me get ready for this next step.
It’s matchday Atlanta, and I’m so proud to be playing a small part in it. Can’t wait to talk to y’all tonight!