The start of FIFA WOMEN’S WORLD CUP 2015, just over a month away, is coming with great anticipation, and today FOX Sports continues to unveil its unprecedented coverage plans, announcing its studio analysts for live pre-match, halftime and post-match commentary. The announcement was made by David Neal, FIFA Women’s World Cup on FOX Executive Producer.
The personalities joining FOX Sports’ Women¹s World Cup coverage, mostly former star players on the international stage, have represented five different countries – USA, Canada, England, Germany and Mexico. They combine for an impressive 932 international matches played, including a remarkable 51 FIFA World Cup and Women’s World Cup match appearances between 1990 and 2011. The formidable lineup features past United States Men’s and Women’s National Team stars Angela Hucles, Alexi Lalas, Heather Mitts, Leslie Osborne and Eric Wynalda. Those bringing a global flavor and expertise are retired Canadian WNT striker Christine Latham; Kelly Smith, England’s all-time women’s leading goal scorer; Ariane Hingst, two-time Women’s World Cup champion with Germany; and former Mexican Women’s National Team captain Monica Gonzalez. In addition to the former players, longtime FIFA Match Commissioner Dr. Joe Machnik provides his unique insight, interpreting rules and dissecting referee decisions. As was previously announced, FOX Sports’ Rob Stone and Sky Sports’ Kate Abdo serve as studio hosts throughout the month-long tournament.
“We have an extraordinary team of studio analysts who are knowledgeable, opinionated, and contemporary to the game,” said Neal. “Our global roster features an exciting combination of television veterans and dynamic newcomers who all share one very important trait — an abiding passion for international soccer.”
In addition to pregame, halftime and postgame shows, the assembled analysts also appear on FOX Sports 1 signature programs AMERICA’S PREGAME and FOX SPORTS LIVE, and FIFA Women’s World Cup-themed news and highlights programs throughout the tournament. Studio coverage originates from FOX Sports’ customized two-story state-of-the-art studio center on picturesque Coal Harbor in Vancouver beginning Thursday, June 4.
FOX Sports’ broadcast team assignments for the Women’s World Cup, including match analyst pairings, are expected in coming weeks. Thumbnail biographies on each of the studio analysts, in alphabetical order, are below:
Monica Gonzalez, a member of Mexico’s 1999 Women’s World Cup squad and former captain, joins FOX Sports’ Women’s World Cup studio coverage, marking her second time covering the world’s biggest women’s soccer tournament (previously with ESPN).
Ariane Hingst brings impressive credentials from the field to television. As the youngest player on Germany’s 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup squad, she started all her team’s matches and scored one goal. She again started every match as Germany won the Women’s World Cup 2003, then anchored a defense that did not allow a single goal the entire tournament as Germany successfully defended its title in 2007.
Angela Hucles won two Olympic gold medals and finished third in two Women’s World Cups as a stalwart midfielder for the USWNT. During her seven-year career, she played in 109 matches, and since then has contributed to FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2014 CONCACAF Women’s World Cup Qualifying Tournament.
Alexi Lalas, a U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer and standout U.S. Men’s National Team defender during the 1994 World Cup, works his fourth straight FIFA World Cup as a studio analyst. This year’s event marks his first time covering the women’s tournament and his first World Cup event with FOX Sports, having worked three World Cup tournaments with ESPN beginning in 2006.
Christine Latham, a former Canadian Women’s National Team striker, amassed 15 goals in 49 caps and a Women’s World Cup appearance in 2003. She offers her expertise to the FOX Sports team with the competition taking place in her home country this summer.
Dr. Joe Machnik, a longtime FIFA Match Commissioner, provides insight, opinion and clarification to officiating matters and controversial calls.
Heather Mitts, a former U.S. Women’s National Team defender and three-time Olympic gold medalist, serves as a studio analyst covering the Women’s World Cup for the second time (previously with ESPN). She was a member of the 2011 FIFA Women’s World Cup USA team that advanced to the final before a devastating penalty-kick loss to Japan.
Leslie Osborne, a retired USWNT defensive midfielder and member of the 2007 Women’s World Cup team that reached the semifinals, shares her knowledge as a studio analyst after appearing on the network’s coverage of various women’s international friendlies, including the Algarve Cup, this year.
Kelly Smith is arguably the greatest women’s soccer player in England’s history and played collegiate soccer at Seton Hall. She spent considerable time in the U.S. pro leagues and in the UK before retiring from international soccer earlier this year. She has competed in three UEFA Women’s Championships, two FIFA Women’s World Cups and one Olympics.
Eric Wynalda, another U.S. Soccer Hall of Famer, continues his studio role and is a veteran of FOX Sports’ soccer coverage. He played in three World Cups during his career and retired from national team duty as the all-time leading scorer in American history with 34 goals in 106 caps.