Bob Ley, José Ramón Fernández, Rebecca Lowe and Max Bretos to Host; Michael Ballack, Mario Kempes, Alexi Lalas, Tato Noriega, et al, to Serve as Studio Analysts; Four Reporters in Poland-Ukraine
ESPN today announced its studio teams for the English and Spanish presentations of the UEFA European Football Championship 2012 (June 8 to July 1) in Poland and Ukraine.
Outside the Lines host Bob Ley, ESPN UK football presenter/reporter Rebecca Lowe, and SportsCenter anchor Max Bretos will combine to host English-language studio programming for the event. Veteran Spanish-language television journalist José Ramón Fernández will be primary host for ESPN Deportes studio programs for the UEFA EURO 2012.
The studio hosts will work with a team of former players who excelled in professional soccer: former German National Team captain Michael Ballack, 1978 FIFA World Cup champion and Golden Boot winner Mario Kempes, former U.S. National Team defender Alexi Lalas, former U.S. National Team and Premier League goalkeeper Kasey Keller, former Mexican National Team player Jose Antonio “Tato” Noriega, and more.
ESPN, ESPN2 and ESPN Deportes will combine to present more than 200 hours of live UEFA EURO 2012 programming, including all 31 matches live on English-language networks and 27 on ESPN Deportes, the most comprehensive presentation ever of the quadrennial European championship in the United States.
ESPN UEFA EURO 2012 Studio Team
- Bretos – The SportsCenter anchor and ESPN host of MLS Cup joined ESPN in 2010 from Fox Soccer. He will make his debut hosting major international soccer on ESPN with the UEFA EURO 2012.
- Fernández – A veteran sports journalist who has covered nine FIFA World Cups since 1978 and eight Olympic Games, Fernández appears on several programs on ESPN Deportes and ESPN in Latin America, as well as other multimedia platforms, including online and audio.
- Ley – Host of Outside the Lines and numerous ESPN in-depth news specials, Ley was one of three primary hosts during ESPN’s award-winning presentation of the 2010 FIFA World Cup from South Africa and 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup in Germany. He earned the Honorary All-America Award by the National Soccer Coaches Association of America in 1999 for his contributions to the sport.
- Lowe – ESPN UK football presenter, Lowe made her U.S. debut last year hosting ESPN’s critically acclaimed coverage of the FIFA Women’s World Cup Germany 2011. On May 5, she became the first woman to host the FA Cup Final on television at Wembley Stadium, working ESPN UK’s daylong coverage.
Ballack, Keller, Kempes and Noriega will headline a team of studio analysts that also includes Andrés Agulla, José Hernández, Richard Méndez, Fernando Palomo, Tommy Smyth and Taylor Twellman.
- Agulla – A Spanish-language commentator, Agulla will bring years of experience covering soccer and a variety of other sports to ESPN Deportes’ studio coverage.
- Ballack – Former German National Team captain and current professional footballer, Ballack will be making his debut as a television analyst in the U.S.
- Hernández – ESPN Deportes and ESPN Dos (Mexico) soccer commentator, Hernández has called major European leagues such as Serie A, La Liga and UEFA Champions League for the networks. He is currently an expert panelist on ESPN Deportes’ soccer studio program Fuera de Juego.
- Keller – A former U.S. National Team goalkeeper who played professional football for 16 years in Europe, Keller retired last year after three seasons with the MLS Seattle Sounders FC. He serves as a studio analyst for U.S. Men’s National Team matches and select MLS telecasts.
- Kempes – The 1978 FIFA World Cup champion from Argentina has been with ESPN Deportes (U.S.) and ESPN in Latin America since 2004, providing Spanish-language studio commentary on the European leagues and FIFA World Cup events.
- Lalas – The former U.S. Men’s National Team defender is ESPN’s lead English-language studio analyst for soccer. He played professional soccer in Italian Serie A and was among a pioneer group of U.S. players who launched Major League Soccer.
- Méndez –Méndez, who has been with ESPN since 2006, is a Spanish language sports journalist who combines roles as a match commentator, studio host and analyst. He is also a columnist for ESPNDeportes.com.
- Palomo – Palomo will combine his ESPN Deportes match commentator role with periodic appearances on studio segments including co-hosting the pre-game show for the title match, live from Kyiv, Ukraine, on July 1.
- Smyth – One of the most knowledgeable analysts on European football in the U.S. having called more 2,500 matches from European and South American leagues for ESPN International, Smyth is best known for his hard-hitting punditry on ESPNsoccernet Press Pass – a daily soccer news and opinion program.
- Twellman – One of the most-prolific strikers in eight (2002-2010) Major League Soccer seasons, Twellman is the match analyst for MLS and U.S. Men’s National Team matches on ESPN.
Reporters Martin Ainstein, former Australian Women’s National Team player Alicia Ferguson, Vito De Palma and Alex de la Rosa, will be in Poland and Ukraine throughout the tournament. Ainstein, De Palma and de la Rosa will primarily work for ESPN Deportes, while Ferguson, a studio commentator on ESPN’s 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup and reporter for ESPN’s Premier League telecasts, will report primarily for ESPN, ESPN2 and English-language studio programming.
SOCCER ON ESPN
ESPN is the home of premier soccer championship events and top league competitions from around the world. It is the English-language home of the Men’s and Women’s FIFA World Cup events in the United States through 2014, including the 2013 FIFA Confederations Cup; and the exclusive English- and Spanish-language home of the UEFA European Football Championship™ 2012 and 2016 in the U.S. ESPN airs the Barclays Premier League and Spain’s La Liga in both English and Spanish across multiple networks and platforms, as well as matches on its digital and television platforms from other top leagues – Italian Serie A, German Bundesliga, the Dutch Eredivisie, Portuguese Liga, Mexican Primera Division, Brazil’s Paulista Championship – and national domestic club competitions, including Copa del Rey, Coppa Italia and the French Cup. With top-level national team competitions, Major League Soccer, coverage of the U.S. National Teams, and the NCAA Men’s and Women’s soccer championships also part of its soccer programming, the ESPN portfolio represents arguably the most comprehensive commitment to the sport in the United States.
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