Kyle Martino recently announced via Instagram that he’ll be leaving NBC Sports effective immediately.
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Hey all, I wanted you to know that in the last few weeks the difficult decision has been made that this past season will be my last on NBC’s Premier League Coverage. I’m humbled and proud to have been a part of the special coverage we’ve delivered over the past 7 years. It has been one of the joys of my life to have been on this incredible journey, but it’s clear the time has come for me to take on new challenges. It’s with tremendous gratitude, and appreciation, that I say goodbye to my NBC Soccer Team. I’ll still be there every weekend, but now as one of the many fans waking up to watch the best team in sports, cover the best league in the world. Love you guys! -KMart
If I said I wasn’t a bit devastated by this news I’d be lying to you. Watching the Premier League used to be a tall task here in the US. Finding dodgy streams was a weekly occurrence until NBC introduced the first mainstream media contract with the English league.
With that came the oddity of being able to watch the beautiful game on cable TV. And the introduction of personalities who have become a mainstay on my weekends. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the Robbies and I love Rebecca Lowe.
But Kyle Martino?
He’s the proud son of soccer in the US despite not necessarily having an illustrious playing career. His voice was a welcome one each weekend, and the English game was broadcast to every end of these United States. For me, he helped elevate American voices in soccer in an intelligent, measured way. We finally were moving past the likes of Alexi Lalas and Taylor Twellman, both of whom make me want to scratch out my eyes.
Maybe it was due to the NBC team. And that he was a perfect piece of that puzzle. But regardless, the fact of the matter is he will be missed, and will be very difficult to replace.
So what’s next for him?
Great question. Nothing has been announced. Having recently gone through some highly personal stuff, maybe he’s taking time to be with his kids. That’s valid.
CBS Sports has taken the reins of UEFA cup play. Part of me is hoping he got pulled into that and it hasn’t been announced yet. In my mind, he’s spent the last seven years as a pundit for the best league in the world. So it’s a natural next step that he’d get to go talk about the greatest competition in the world in The Champions League.
As much as I love that idea, it also dawned on me that he could be making moves into US Soccer. A couple years ago, Martino entered himself into a race for US Soccer President. Many, including myself, hoped he would manage to get that job. It was a long shot, and, naturally, the USSF stayed within the regime when they chose Carlos Cordeiro. He has since left, and US Soccer has begun an overhaul with new leadership since the start of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Upon doing some research, I realized that Martino’s campaign site, Everyone’s Game USA, is still in existence. While US Soccer isn’t looking for a new President right now, a shakeup in the federation could mean a prominent place for Kyle to set down some roots.
Transparency. Equality. Progress.
His campaign slogan is still something we’re yearning for in US Soccer today.
So why not sit here and hope that we can see some plausible, necessary change from the inside at USSF, as Martino slots into some sort of developmental role? After all, he has played soccer at every possible level here in the US, from youth to MLS to the USMNT. He has good ideas and a steadfast understanding of what isn’t working.
While we wait to find out what his next moves are, I’m going to sit here hoping he helps to shape the future of the game in this country.
But regardless, I wish you all the best in whatever your next venture is, Kyle. And I’ll be behind you every step of the way.
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