This is a series that looks at the greats (and goods) of the beautiful game that went on to sully the ears of footy fans around the world in the cushy confines of the commentary booth. Today’s subject: The Grand Dame of Dull, the Baroness of Boring, the Queen of Cliche, Ms. Julie Foudy
Julie Foudy is a pioneer of women’s soccer in the United States. A co-captain of the U.S. National Team from 1991 to 2000, and then sole captain until her retirement in 2004, Foudy won two World Cups, including the inaugural tournament in 1991, two Olympic gold medals, and one Olympic Silver. She an ever-present for her team in the 91 World Cup and 1996 Olympics, playing every minute of every match. Foudy’s scoring record from midfield was quite good; in 271 appearances for the national team, Foudy bulged the old onion bag 45 times, and added 59 assists. In addition to her play, Foudy served as the national team’s default spokesperson, conducting interviews both during and after international tournaments.
Foudy was also team captain of the San Diego Spirit of WUSA, the first of (likely) two failed attempts to professionalize women’s soccer in the U.S. Upon the league’s folding in 2003, Foudy served as the players’ representative in attempts to revive WUSA.
Since her retirement, Foudy has popped up as an ESPN analyst for Euro 2008 and the World Cup Finals in 2006 and 2010 (all tournaments, bar 2010 when Czech Republic failed to qualify, in which Foudy revealed an inability to pronounce the name Petr Cech, only one of the world’s foremost keepers in 2006 and 2008), color commentator for Women’s World Cup in 2007 and 2011, and cohost for ESPN’s weekly MLS coverage. Unfortunately, the very things that made her an excellent captain and media voice for the USWNT are the things that doom her as a television analyst. Foudy was exceptional at motivational rhetoric for the team and empty-meaningful quotes for the media. Also, as friend of the blog Georger once said (although Georger appears to be big-upping Tommy Smyth, which I cannot get behind), she’s got a bad case of the tryhards. All of these habits, when combined, result in this:
While I appreciate her connection to the 2011 U.S. Women’s team, especially as many of those players are her former teammates, rampant homerism in the analyst’s chair puts you in the company of future PPPPP inductee Mark Lawrenson. Not good company to be in at all.
Then again, maybe she’s playing to the level of her teams. While the 2011 Women’s World Cup had Foudy paired with Ian Darke (who also has to suffer the awful tittering of Steve McManaman when he’s calling the EPL), Foudy regularly sits in analysis teams with Alexei Lalas and Rob Stone. That’s all the makings of an attacking trident that will assault your ears.