Top soccer play-by-play voice Ian Darke will pair with analyst and two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion Julie Foudy as lead commentators for ESPN’s presentation of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup (June 26 – July 17). Darke and Foudy will kick off the three-week tournament Sunday, June 26, at 11:30 a.m. ET, with the event’s opening match – host nation Germany vs. Canada – on ESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV, from the Berlin Olympiastadion. They will also provide commentary for the title match Sunday, July 17, at 2 p.m. on ESPN, ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV, live from Frankfurt.
Darke, who joined ESPN full-time in September 2010 after his critically acclaimed performance during the 2010 FIFA World Cup, will be making his ESPN Women’s World Cup debut in Germany. Foudy, a former U.S. Women’s National Team captain, is entering her second FIFA Women’s World Cup as ESPN’s lead match analyst. Germany 2011 marks her sixth FIFA Women’s World Cup overall as a player and television analyst. The other two match commentator teams will be announced at a later date.
“Ian’s experience as one of the best English-language soccer commentators, and Julie’s insight and history with the Women’s World Cup having played in four straight tournaments, make this an ideal pairing for the event,” said Jed Drake, ESPN senior vice president and executive producer, production.
Foudy was a midfielder for the U.S. Women’s National Team from 1987 through 2004. In her 17-year national team tenure, the U.S. women won two FIFA Women’s World Cup titles (1991, 1999), captured two Olympic gold medals (1996, 2004), and the silver medal in 2000, becoming one of the most successful national teams in the sport.
Foudy’s retirement, ending a remarkable international career with 271 matches – along with fellow women’s soccer legends Mia Hamm and Joy Fawcett, marked the end of what has been called the “golden era” of women’s soccer in the United States. She was inducted into National Soccer Hall of Fame in August 2007.
Germany 2011 will be ESPN’s fifth straight FIFA Women’s World Cup – and its most comprehensive presentation to date. All 32 matches will air live and in high definition on ESPN and ESPN2, as well as ESPN3.com and ESPN Mobile TV. Additionally, all match telecasts will feature pre-match, halftime and post-match studio segments originating live from the host nation, including symbolic FIFA World Cup traditions – the teams walking onto the pitch, the national anthems and ceremonial handshakes.
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.
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