SEATTLE - OCTOBER 15: Goalkeeper Kasey Keller #18 of the Seattle Sounders FC waves to the crowd after the match against the San Jose Earthquakes at CenturyLink Field on October 15, 2011 in Seattle, Washington. The Sounders defeated the Earthquakes 2-1. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
BBC Radio veteran Fletcher will take on play-by-play duties; Keller to fill color analyst role.
The Seattle Sounders have announced that Ross Fletcher will be the team's play-by-play announcer for the 2012 season. As expected, he will be joined in the broadcast booth by Kasey Keller who will be filling the role of color analyst. Fletcher has spent the past five-and-a-half years as a commentator and reporter for BBC Radio 5 Live; prior to that he was the play-by-play voice of English club Derby County F.C.
"Ross and Kasey will bring a new dimension and perspective to Sounders FC broadcasts. The combination of Ross' experience and Kasey's knowledge gives us a sensational 1-2 punch which our fans deserve."
-Sounders owner Joe Roth
"I'm honored to follow Arlo White and hope to match his enthusiasm and strong connection to the fans. The Sounders FC supporters are already legend, and I look forward to witnessing the dedication and passion of our fan base first hand."
-Sounders play-by-play announcer Ross Fletcher
The move to a two-man announcers booth is a departure from the past two seasons, during which Arlo White worked alone. It appears as though the Sounders practice of using the same audio commentary for television and radio will continue, as the press release indicates that the pair will "be heard on all local television and radio broadcasts." That being the case, the Sounders' radio audience will likely welcome the return of the two-man booth; members of the television viewing audience that might typically be opposed to a two-man announcing crew will likely be placated by the fact that the second man is, in this case, Kasey Keller.
The biggest challenge for Fletcher will be filling the shoes of the widely-beloved Arlo White. Though White was the voice of the Sounders for just two seasons, he and Sounders fans developed a deep (seemingly) mutual affection for one another. It's not exactly fair, but Fletcher will to at least some degree be judged by how well he measures up to White; that's certainly a tall order, but one of which the Sounders front office is almost certainly aware. Given how well they did the last time around, they (and by extension Fletcher) have earned the benefit of the doubt.