What has been rumored for several weeks is finally official: Arlo White will be the new play-by-play announcer for NBC's soccer coverage and will make his debut on March 11, 2012. White made a name for himself during two seasons with the Seattle Sounders, a time in which he endeared himself to that fan base to a degree that is sometimes hard to believe.
When news first leaked out, many Sounders fans considered White's departure a bigger loss than any of the players the team has parted ways with this offseason. As someone who had the pleasure of listening to the most of his broadcasts, I can assure the rest of the country that White will quickly become a favorite with you, as well.
The first thing you'll notice about him is that he knows his subjects as well as anyone. During his time with the Sounders, he did a weekly Scouting Report for their website that showed an analytical acumen that is rare among American broadcasters of any sport. The only announcer who I would feel comfortable even comparing him to in that regard is ESPN's Ron Jaworski.
That kind of research made his passion for the game that much more acute. Some fans of other teams may have considered White a homer, but he was perfectly willing to defend referees when calls went against the Sounders and was not above showing excitement when an opposing player did something impressive.
It's obviously unclear how that passion will translate to a national audience, but there's little doubt that he'll be a considerable upgrade over past play-by-play voices. Sounders fans' loss is clearly American soccer fans' gain.