Blogcast w/Chris Graham: Soccer expert

chris graham vmi soccerESPN+ Soccer Debut

Didn’t know I was a soccer expert? Neither did I, until I was brought on to serve as the play-by-play man for ESPN+ broadcasts of VMI soccer, beginning today with the Keydets’ 5-1 win in women’s soccer action over South Carolina State.

I’ve covered soccer off and on over the years, but it’s one thing to sit in a press box and watch a game and make sense of it afterward in print, and quite another to be able to talk about it live on the air for 90 minutes, no commercials except at halftime.

My approach was to immerse myself in the sport over the past week, learning about the VMI programs – I’ll be calling men’s and women’s soccer home games this fall – and watching soccer broadcasts with an ear to the people talking, to get a feel for how they frame the sport.

The last part of my prep was to do a couple of dry runs over the weekend, watching Premier League games on the TV, turning the volume down, and doing my own play-by-play.

I wouldn’t expect me to get a call for next year’s Women’s World Cup or anything, but … I survived.

And will be back Thursday, when the VMI women’s team battles Delaware State at 4 p.m.

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The book, with additional reporting by Scott Ratcliffe and Zach Pereles, will take you from the aftermath of the stunning first-round loss to UMBC in 2018, and how coach Tony Bennett and his team used that loss as the source of strength, through to the ACC regular-season championship, the run to the Final Four, and the thrilling overtime win over Texas Tech to win the 2019 national title, the first in school history.
 
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