By Mark Vincent Lincir
Taylor Twellman (photo) hopes that this isn’t the end of his professional playing career. But if, unfortunately, it is…he’s got a head start in a field he might just be perfectly suited for. After being put on the season ending disabled list by the New England Revolution due to the effects of Post Concussion Syndrome, Twellman was offered by ESPN to broadcast one of Manchester United’s summer tour games. He accepted and has since become one of the newest and most refreshing voices on the scene.
Have you seriously considered retirement if you can’t play again?
Unfortunately, its never retirement, it would be medically enforced. I mean, medically I’m not cleared to play that’s the hardest thing…it’s a head injury, there’s no rehab. I just need to let the symptoms subside and take it from there. It would be a lot different if it was by choice, I’m not cleared to play. At end of the year I will access and make a very, very educated decision.
Has it been a difficult challenge mentally?
Yes mentally its very tough, and mentally it’s an issue too..it’s my brain. In 2006 I played through a hernia and 30 painkiller shots to play through games but this is different…you can’t fix it, you just have to let it heal.
Do you see yourself being the new voice of American soccer broadcasting?
I love it, I like because I’ve always been the Bull Durham of soccer, always giving the cliché answer. But I think with announcing you can kind of let your personality show. I thank god that ESPN has given me the opportunity. I was put into the mix really early. My first job was announcing the Manchester united game so you can’t ask for more of an introduction than that. I would love to be some voice for American soccer but I’ve got a long way to go.
Do you think you’ll have to adapt an accent to be accepted as a soccer broadcaster?
You’re never going to hear pitch out of me. I’ll be the American, so it will always be a field. There’s nothing wrong with what ESPN did for the World Cup. I like what they did. I think at some point you’ll need an American voice to help grow the game in the United States and I think we’re on the verge of breaking into that field.
Is the game catching on in the United States?
I think it’s catching on but there’s a ceiling. Are we ever going to be baseball basketball or football unless they all go on strike for a few years? I don’t think that’s going to happen. Is it ever going to be in the top three or four, I don’t want to say that impossible, but that’s a huge task. As long as we have 18 teams and our national team is doing well, I think you can call it a huge success.
What do you see yourself doing in 15 years?
I’m worried about what I’m going to shoot at my golf game tomorrow. I don’t think that far ahead, but I wanna stay in the league whether it’s as a GM, coach or in the media when I’m done playing. I want to be the old guy coming to the stadium and the young guys looking at me and saying that when Taylor Twellman played they played on turf in 70,000 seat stadiums, and that we grew the game and made it better for them.