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February 26, 2012 at 3:47 PM

A stop and chat with Ross Fletcher

fletcher mug.jpgWe got a chance to meet new Sounders FC play-by-play man Ross Fletcher today at the team’s practice at Starfire. He’s tall, has a firm handshake and a great personality. He arrived to town about a week ago and is eager to get going. Here’s some stuff we got from Fletcher on the record:

* * *

(How have the few weeks been since we last talked to you on the conference call?) “It’s been a crazy few weeks for me I suppose personally, just getting everything in order. Crazy to think I was out in Austria talking to you at midnight from a darkened restaurant, then got home, had a few days at home, came to Seattle and started looking at some houses with my wife, then went back for a few days and here we are now. Five, six days into it, (I’ve had) really great first impressions. For me, it’s been brilliant to see the guys — get some eyeball time — because with them being away and me being here only a week I haven’t been able to see them. But it’s helped me get the nuts and bolts of settling down in Seattle in order — finding a place to live, finding a car, getting a Social Security number. So it’s been an experience.”

(How has the club been in terms of helping your transition?) “Everything for me so far has been absolutely first class, and that was right from the first impression I had went I flew over to the VMAC and it was the ‘getting to know you’ part of the experience. Right then, you go into VMAC and you see Starfire and you’re like, ‘Wow, this place is absolutely fantastic.’ Then you get to meet the people and you think you can see why this place is so fantastic. The people behind it are really fantastic and make it work. They’ve done everything that I could possible want to help me feel settled, to get in, to get acclimatized to the city itself and the club. Everything has made the transition from the U.K. very, very easy.”

(When is your first broadcast?) “The first broadcast is to be part of the preseason special on Wednesday, so you’ll be able to hear a little bit of me in the booth.”

(Any game work?) “We’ll be doing little parts of the game on TV as part of the preseason special, so you’ll get a little flavor of me there. And then on radio for the Santos game — so that’s the first 90 minutes as it were. Then the first big TV game, of course, is the season kickoff on the 17th against Toronto when everything really kicks into life in the regular season. So there’s still a few days for people to wait and ease me in, and then hopefully — bang! — off we go.”

(Is your broadcast partner Kasey Keller going to be involved in all that, too?) “I’m not entirely sure at the moment. I’ll get back to you on that one, but I’m doing practice with Kasey tomorrow in the office, because he’s been away in Hawaii (working for ESPN). I haven’t had a chance to meet him face-to-face, but we’ll stick on our headsets tomorrow and see how we get on. I’m sure it will be great. He’s a great pro. (I’ve followed) his career from back in the U.K. as well as following his progress here in Seattle. From the bits I’ve seen on him on TV, I’m sure he’ll be a great fit.”

(From a professional standpoint, what are some of the things you feel you need to do in the next few days?) “It’s research for me. It’s that eyeball time of seeing the players — you can watch only so many DVDs — and it gives a great idea of what the team’s all about. I’ve been watching the stuff on the website for a while, too, to assimilate myself with the guys and what they’re all about. But it’s the chance to speak to Sigi face to face, and Chris Henderson, and to Adrian Hanauer, to say hello to the players and really get an idea of who they are as well and learn a little bit more about them. That’s really important for me that I do understand not only what’s happens on the field, but also who these guys are as players and what makes them tick. These few days are really valuable for me and the next few weeks are valuable, because it is a big learning process. You can only do so much from across the pond, so with time right now I’m trying to make the most of, because it is absolutely crucial for me to make sure I make the best call possible when game-day comes.”

(More on getting to know the players…) “I find it really interesting what Eddie Johnson was saying when he was came over to Seattle that, yeah, he made the big move to the EPL, but actually what mattered to him when he didn’t play his best soccer by his own admission was his family wasn’t there, and that was a big part of it. Sometimes you don’t realize that if you’re just sitting down for 90 minutes and watching a game at CenturyLink Field. You just see what’s happening on the field and if somebody has an off-day you might not know. For me, it’s so important to understand why maybe, and being closer to players is obviously going to help that.”

(And the players’ reception of you has gone well so far?) “Yeah, it’s been terrific. You never quite know with sports players what the reception will be. Over in England, the profile of the place is such that you get very little 1-on-1 time with the players, because their time is so precious and they are huge. These guys are huge in Seattle as well, but they’ve been so welcoming to me, it’s terrific. It obviously helps me settle in and feel like I can do the best job possible because we’re all pulling in the same direction.”


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