“It was a seminal moment, when [Fox Sports’ soccer coverage] stopped apologizing. From a broadcasting perspective we are going to stop apologizing for what we’re not,” Alexi Lalas said when he was welcomed by the Marist College Center for Sports Communication on March 5. “We aren’t going to slow down, and we just continued on since then.”
Lalas came to Marist College in order to speak to students and account on his time as a soccer player as well as a sports broadcaster.
Alexi Lalas is an American retired soccer player best known for his time with the United States men’s national soccer team and in the 1994 FIFA World Cup.
Lalas was recognized during his time with the US men’s national team by his distinctive long beard and hair, as well as his strong defensive playing. After the World Cup, Lalas went on to become the first American in Italy’s Serie A as a member of Padova, later returning to the United States and playing for several different MLS teams.
While Lalas announced his retirement in 1999, he did not fully retire until 2004 after having resigned with the L.A. Galaxy. After his retirement, Lalas continued to grow his soccer career, yet in a new way.
Lalas joined ESPN and became their lead studio analyst during the network’s coverage of the 2006, 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cups. He also provided analysis on Major League Soccer, USMNT Team matches and international soccer events including the UEFA European Championships and FIFA Confederations Cups.
“Soccer isn’t chaos theory, my job is to provide insight and entertainment.” Lalas spoke to a room full of Marist College students about the sport that has not only driven his career but his passion for broadcasting. “I make no apologies for being a performer, I never say something that I don’t believe in. Just because it’s louder doesn’t mean it’s better but sometimes that is the case, I can get excited about a game because it’s something that I love. I’m emotional and passionate about it.”
While Lalas discussed his time with ESPN, and now Fox Sports, he gave the room full of Marist students insight into what it means to be a broadcaster for such a growing sport. “If you take the last 20 years and what soccer has done, it’s vibrant and it’s above ground. There’s a whole generation now that define themselves by soccer with the way they dress and present themselves.” Lalas has been in the soccer industry as not only a broadcaster but as a player and executive, giving him different perspectives and insights which allow him to create better content for fans.
Lalas allowed the room to understand how soccer defines his life as well as so many people around the world. “When you really understand soccer and a team is able to break pressure and get the ball you hear a mutual respect by the entire crowd,” Lalas said. “The beauty is in those moments, and all of the little moments in a game that make it so beautiful.”
His passion for the sport drives his ability to create content and inspire others. Lalas will continue to inspire others and voice his passion for the sport in the upcoming months as the FIFA World Cup is broadcasted.