Chris Sullivan’s Slant

The soccer announcer Chris Sullivan is a combination of Mr. Subliminal, a Mexican soccer announcer, a Mexican soap opera star, and a Frenchmen recently having arrived in the United States and working as a waiter. He tends to bend words around and create new ones, but it’s all done for the love of the game and that’s why I’ve come to enjoy his commentating.

There’s a bit of a pop to Sullivan’s commentating, a real joy for the game of soccer. He means well. Sullivan wants you to enjoy the game of soccer as much as he does.

Perhaps he gets so excited at times he wants to embellish a bit and use two words together to try to describe something that’s indescribable. That’s when he inserts a word that might work in Spanish but doesn’t translate in English. Especially when he mixes the two languages together it seems at times, or at least his accent makes it sound that way.

Which is why the "¡GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLL!"call by the Mexican announcer Andres Cantor is so appropriate. Sometimes the words in the dictionary aren’t enough.

Along with his passion, Sullivan has a vast vault of soccer history to pull from, he can compare one player from the 1970’s World Cup to an MLS player, an Italian star with a Mexican up and comer, or remember Guillermo Barros Schelotto’s days with Boca Juniors as though he was there. Even though he might say Schelotto’s name like he’s a bonified saint, you can’t dismiss Sullivan’s knowledge of the game and its players.

Sullivan is more than just a wordsmith of his own creating though. He’s a historian of football. He’s the librarian of football with his own personal dictionary and thesaurus. He doesn’t have the cleverness just yet of Ray Hudson, who weaves together metaphors hilariously. But Sullivan has his own authentic style – he’s not fake or full of fluff.

It’s really no surprise he mixes words around and creates his own language of sorts, as a professional soccer player he spent time playing in France, Hungary, Sweden, Denmark, German, Mexico, as well as the MLS.

He’s not overly emotional like say Bela Karolyi in gymnastics or manic like Jim Cramer is with stocks, though I’d have liked to watched Bela watch the gymnastics competition rather than some of the actual events themselves, and I appreciate the craziness of Cramer since it’s underlined with smarts. The point is, both are genuine fanatics of their respective games, as is Sullivan.

However, as far as Sullivan, he’s more even keeled and thus a good pairing with Max Bretos, who throws the comedic element into the game when it’s needed. Sullivan I’m sure will continue to refine his style, maybe he’ll add more gesticulations to his made up language or even some props at halftime – a bit of surprise. Let’s hope not.

I do miss Wynalda’s announcing on ESPN though, and although Harkes has proven he’s going to be around for a long while, I wish they’d bring Wynalda back from time to time. Bring him in sort of like Triumph the Insult Comic Dog from Conan O’Brien.

But here’s a quick run down of some of Chris Sullivan’s favorite phrases and words, sometimes he use three or four of these together:

  • Good location
  • Surprise
  • Synchronized
  • Circulation
  • Definition
  • Interchanging
  • Facility
  • Rhythm
  • Fantastic football (said in a whisper)
  • Little triangles
  • Clairvoyance
  • Intervention
  • Coordinated
  • Unison

Sullivan has been doing soccer games for Fox Soccer for at least four or five years now. At least as long as they’ve been doing MLS games. He’s been at the epicenter of the new wave of soccer that’s risen up in the United States since Fox Soccer brought the game into more homes.

And Sullivan is certainly not has hated as some are of Marcela Balboa, his former teammate on the U.S national team. However, it could have to do with the fact the Olympic games were on at a very early hour for most.

Ok, in short, want to win the war on terror? Lock suspected terrorists in a room and make them listen to Marcelo Balboa. (Too harsh?)

So it goes though, we don’t have our Andy Gray just yet, but we’ve got some entertaining announcers who are honing their skills and interchangability.

Sullivan now announces soccer games mostly one beIN SPORTS USA.