Five former FIFA Women’s World Cup players from four countries – USA’s Kate Markgraf and Cat Whitehill, Mexico’s Mónica González, Australia’s Alicia Ferguson and Viola Odebrecht from Germany – will join ESPN as match and studio analysts for the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany, June 26 – July 17. The five analysts will be joined by play-by-play commentators Adrian Healey and Beth Mowins to round out ESPN’s commentary team for the quadrennial event.
In all, the analysts on ESPN’s FIFA Women’s World Cup roster, including lead match analyst Julie Foudy and studio analysts Brandi Chastain, Tony DiCicco and Briana Scurry, have played or coached in 88 World Cup matches combined, winning seven titles. (Click here for previous ESPN commentator announcements.)
ESPN will use three commentator teams for the 32 matches, led by Ian Darke and former U.S. Women’s National Team captain Foudy, who will call the Germany vs. Canada opening match on Sunday, June 26, at 11 p.m. ET (ESPN/ESPN3.com), and the title match on Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m. (ESPN/ESPN3.com).
- Healey, a 2010 FIFA World Cup match commentator and the lead voice for MLS on ESPN, will pair with analyst Markgraf on the second team. Former U.S. Women’s National Team coach DiCicco will also serve as analyst on select matches, working with Healey.
- Mowins, one of the most versatile play-by-play commentators on ESPN, will work with analyst Whitehill as the third commentator team.
In the studio, award winning ESPN journalist and news anchor Bob Ley and ESPN UK’s soccer presenter Rebecca Lowe will share host duties. Ley and Lowe will be joined by Chastain, Scurry and DiCicco as primary studio analysts. Ferguson, who played in the 1999 and 2007 Women’s World Cups, will combine studio appearances with insider reports on teams from the Asian Football Confederation (Australia, North Korea and Japan). Gonzalez, a founding member of the Mexican women’s national team who played in the 1999 Women’s World Cup, will provide a fresh and current analysis of Mexico’s team, having been among the last cuts for the team’s Women’s World Cup roster. Odebrecht, a member of Germany’s 2003 Women’s World Cup winning team, will provide insight on Union of European Football Association (UEFA) teams – Germany, England, Sweden, Norway and France.
Brief biographical background:
- Alicia Ferguson: One of Australia’s fiercest women’s soccer competitors, Ferguson played for the Matildas in the 1999 and 2007 Women’s World Cups. Her tenacity earned her the dubious distinction as the player who received the fastest red card in Women’s World Cup history – in the second minute of a group stage match vs. China in 1999.
- Mónica González: A founding member of the Mexican national team in 1998, González was one of the leaders in the last team to represent Mexico in the Women’s World Cup. She was among the last players cut from Mexico’s 2011 World Cup roster.
- Kate Markgraf: One of the best defenders in U.S. Women’s National Team history. Though she was the least experienced starter in 1999, having joined the team a year earlier, Markgraf helped anchor the defense for the United States’ 1999 Women’s World Cup winning team. Markgraf played in 201 international matches from 1998 – 2008, the seventh most in the U.S. women’s team history.
- Viola Oderbrecht: Former Florida State University player and graduate, Oderbrecht played 29 matches for Germany’s women’s national team. She was on Germany’s 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup winning team. She currently lives in the
- Cat Whitehill: Played 12 matches in two World Cups (2003 and 2007) for the U.S. Women’s National Team and made 134 international match appearances in a career that spanned 10 years (2000 – 2010). Whitehill won the 2003 Herman Trophy (best U.S. college player) and led the University of North Carolina to two NCAA titles in 2000 and 2003.
- Adrian Healey: The voice of Major League Soccer on ESPN, Healey will be calling his third FIFA World Cup after working on Germany 2006 and South Africa 2010. His credits include providing play-by-play commentaries for ESPN during the UEFA European Football Championship 2008 (EURO 2008) and the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup.
- Beth Mowins: One of ESPN’s leading play-by-play commentators for college sports, Mowins returns to the FIFA Women’s World Cup after calling matches for ESPN in 2003. She currently calls NCAA Championships in softball, soccer, tennis and volleyball. She also works college football and basketball games on ESPNU.
ESPN & the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup
The FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011 (June 26 – July 17) will be ESPN’s fifth straight, having televised the quadrennial event since 1995. ESPN and ESPN2 will air all 32 matches live and in high definition. ESPN3.com, ESPN’s signature broadband network in 70 million homes, will offer simulcasts of all matches, and ESPN’s mobile platforms will also provide coverage of 26 matches. All programming on ESPN and ESPN2 will also be available online through ESPNnetworks.com, which is accessible to fans who receive their video service from an affiliated provider.
For the first time, ESPN will present all of its FIFA Women’s World Cup studio programming from host nation Germany. The comprehensive news, highlights and information coverage of the quadrennial tournament featuring the top-16 women’s national teams in the world will include, for the first time, pre-match, halftime and post-match shows, as well as World Cup-branded segments on SportsCenter, First Take and ESPNEWS.