By EVAN REAM
Effective immediately, Fox Sports is looking for a new No. 1 soccer broadcaster.
The company, which owns the rights to the next two Men’s and Women’s World Cups as well as the UEFA Champions League and starting next year, MLS and the US National Team, shockingly announced that Gus Johnson had stepped down from the post.
In an interview with Sports Illustrated, the 47-year-old Johnson cited family commitments and overwork in football and basketball as the main factors leading to the mutual decision he made with Fox Sports president Eric Shanks to step down from his duties.
“I want to hang out with my wife and that is where I’m at,” Johnson told Sports Illustrated. “I don’t want to be exhausted, tired and unprepared. What I realized about calling soccer and especially international soccer, I needed to do 35-40 games just to get my bars up and my chops going. Because of my schedule, I never had a chance to get that kind of experience and work in.
“I always felt like I was cramming, and I don’t think that’s a good thing,” Johnson added. “If I’m not the best I can be, I did not think that it was something I should continue to do.”
The original move to hire the exuberant broadcaster after Fox won the rights from FIFA to the next two World Cups was met with mixed emotions from the soccer community, with some feeling that it wasn’t the right move, while others were excited to see what Johnson could bring to the table.
Ultimately, the criticism the network received played no part in the decision according to Shanks, who did admit that they were aware that such criticism existed.
The report stated that Shanks has a relationship with legendary British commentator Martin Tyler, previously of BBC and ESPN, who could be a possible replacement for Johnson.