Gus Johnson is doing the 2018 World Cup. It's gonna get loud.

Andy Lyons

Gus Johnson is coming to the World Cup, and there's only one reason you can't hate it.

You probably know Gus Johnson, but if you don't, let me familiarise you with the essential features of this broadcasting unit. Gus is loud. He is loud, and then gets louder, and then when he has reached the envelope of loud he then hammers down the throttle until windows break. He is as subtle as a pipe bomb, and occasionally goes sideways and demolishes whole portions of a broadcast.

He will also be the 2018 voice of the World Cup, per an SI exclusive revealing Fox's plans to turn him into the voice of the World Cup. You can hate this for a lot of reasons: Johnson's inexperience as a soccer announcer, passing up established soccer talent for an unproven quantity from the world of basketball and football, or because Fox is using the next five years of Champions League games as a training ground for Johnson.* You might also hate Gus Johnson because you simply hate Gus Johnson, and that's valid as long as you don't also like dreary milquetoast gasbags like Joe Buck. (I see you, Will Leitch.)

*That last complaint will be a particularly legitimate one for those who have to watch Johnson barrel through Manchester United vs. Real Madrid on February 13th. You get to be the lab rats in a long clinical trial, but also get to nitpick the slightest mistake first. Congrats!

Nor do I think it's totally necessary to have an "American voice" for soccer to continue to grow here. The game's seminal moments in the U.S. to this point have thus far happened with the lilt of English voices in the background. Ian Darke's honorary American citizenship* came during his call of Landon Donovan's goal against Algeria in the 2010 World Cup, and was as moving and raw and covered in screaming, gun-toting bald eagles as any sports call of the past decade. Exhilarating jingoism has a thousand accents.

*This is unofficial, Mr. Darke, and conveyed only by me and this passport I just wrote out for you in crayon. Please do not tempt fate and attempt to present it as anything close to official paperwork at customs.

In fact, I always liked having a British voice call soccer, or flipping over to Univision to hear Andres Cantor or Pablo Ramirez hitting the roof rapidamente after a near-miss off the far post. I still like the sense of connection it gives me, as if you were putting your head against the apartment wall and hearing the screaming, nonsensical excitement the rest of the world took for granted. It makes the world seem smaller in a good way to see the same game called with the same passion, and delightfully huge to hear it in multiple languages.

If Gus Johnson fails, though, it won't be for a lack of that passion, or for a lack of institutional commitment. Gus is basically already a Univision announcer, an anti-Nantz incapable of restraint when the moment escalates to anything past a simmer. FOX is devoting an insane amount of resources to developing him as a soccer announcer, giving him five years of practice and run-up for the sake of doing what amounts to six weeks of work five years from the present. He'll be fine, and regardless of accent he'll be at the least what many soccer announcers are: loud, somewhat functional, and occasionally relevant to the game on the pitch.

The one reason you can't dislike Johnson getting a shot at the job--particularly you, touchy American soccer fan-- is your own snobbery. You can talk about Fox "pandering" to the American market, but then: we're not really even talking about soccer anymore, are we? We're talking about a refined thing you found, and only you can understand and truly value. It's your sport that sounded better on vinyl, and that was really so much better before Fox, Gus Johnson, and all these lamestreamers crashed your tiny, sports-hipstery party.

As vulgar as that would seem to some United States fans of the most popular sport in the world, there are those lamestreamers who would like to hear an American voice calling soccer. To you, that would be provincial, close-minded, the demands of small-minded hillbillies who demanded a familiar voice to outline the curves of the beautiful global game that only you and billions of your close friends really get. To me, that would simply be what every other country on the planet has, something that would only be a threatening notion to someone perverse enough to be elitist about the most common sport on the planet.

P.S. Personally, I'd still rather hear Ian Darke call it. But I would let Ian Darke call my entire life, right down to botched cosmetic surgeries. THE SURGEON'S COMPLETELY LOST THE PLOT HERE AND OH MY CALL THE BARRISTERS THIS IS GOING TO BE A CRACKER OF A SETTLEMENT.

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