Derek Rae works as a play-by-play announcer for FOX Sports’ coverage of the 2018 FIFA World Cup Russia™. Rae is paired with analyst Aly Wagner, a former U.S. Women’s National Team player.
A familiar voice to soccer viewers around the world, Scotsman Rae is one of the most distinctive and versatile football commentators on television. 2018 marks his eighth FIFA World Cup, having worked most recently for ESPN’s presentation of Brazil 2014.
While currently living in the United States, he makes frequent trips to Germany to cover the Bundesliga for the league’s international feed. In addition, he’s served as the NFL play-by-play announcer for Amazon Prime’s Thursday Night Football series, and hosts international rugby for NBCSN.
ANNOUNCING CAREER HIGHLIGHTS
A former British Sports Broadcaster of the Year, he has commentated on international soccer for more than 30 years, working for BT Sport in the UK as lead voice for Scottish football, as well as calling Champions League, Europa League, the Bundesliga, Serie A and Ligue 1. He has also worked for ESPN for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France and called selected Premier League matches and has been a studio host for NBC Sports.
He earned a name with United States viewers as the popular main voice of the UEFA Champions League on ESPN from 2003 to 2009. Rae also provided play-by-play for ABC/ESPN’s coverage of the UEFA European Football Championship in 2008 and 2012, in addition to being a member of the award-winning team that called the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. That summer, it was announced that Rae would be making the move back to the UK to continue commentating on a wider basis for ESPN’s London-based channel.
Rae called Major League Soccer games for the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996, as well as for the New England Revolution from 1996 to 1999 and again in 2001, and for the MetroStars in 2000.
YOUTH AND EARLY PROFESSIONAL CAREER
Rae grew up in Aberdeen, Scotland. During his youth, he attended football matches with a tape recorder to work on his commentary. At the age of 15 he began his professional broadcasting career calling games for a radio station that broadcast to local hospitals.
In 1986, BBC Radio Scotland announcer David Francey suffered a knee injury and Rae, a 19-year-old student at the University of Aberdeen who had sent the BBC a copy of his radio work, substituted for him on the call of a Scottish Premier Division game between Kilmarnock F.C. and Dumbarton F.C. The network was impressed and hired Rae to call the Rous Cup match between rivals England and Scotland the following week.
The BBC then hired him as its main Scottish football commentator, a job he held for five years. Rae was the 1987 Sony British Sports Broadcaster of the Year. While with BBC Scotland, Rae was assigned to matches in 19 different countries, and was behind the microphone at the 1990 FIFA World Cup in Italy.
After leaving the BBC in 1991, Rae moved to Boston, initially to serve as a Venue Press Officer for the World Cup USA 1994 Organizing Committee, who hired him as a press officer and he oversaw the World Cup games that were held at Foxboro Stadium. Rae met his wife Beth while working on World Cup preparations and the two would later settle in on the North Shore of Massachusetts.
After the World Cup, Rae joined ESPN International, where he called Eredivisie and Campeonato Brasileiro Série A games. His role later expanded to calling more than 150 games a year and hosting a weekly studio-based soccer discussion show, PressPass. He also wrote a column called “Rae’s Say” for ESPNsoccernet.
He currently lives with his wife Beth in the greater Boston area. In his free time, Derek enjoys languages, golf and walking.