ESPNU, SiriusXM FC Announcers Include Kate Markgraf, Heather Mitts, Michael Watts
(TAMPA, Fla.) – United Soccer League (USL) – the largest professional soccer organization under Major League Soccer (MLS) in North America with 29 teams across 21 states and three Canadian provinces – will broadcast the 2016 USL Cup Final, presented by Nike, on ESPNU and simulcast the event on SiriusXM FC (Ch. 85). The game will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider.
Set for Sunday, Oct. 23 at 8:00 p.m. ET, former U.S. Women’s National Team defender Kate Markgraf will provide color analysis alongside play-by-play commentator Michael Watts and Markgraf’s former teammate Heather Mitts will serve as the game’s sideline reporter.
“We are excited to extend our relationship with ESPN and establish one with SiriusXM for the 2016 USL Cup Final and beyond,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “Kate and Heather are icons in American soccer – both during their careers and now with extensive analysis and reporting – while Michael is a proven professional and familiar with our league, having called last year’s championship and this season’s USL Game of the Week.”
Markgraf, a member of the 1999 FIFA Women’s World Cup-winning team, has served as a color analyst since 2011. This includes the past two FIFA Women’s World Cups, the 2012 London Olympics and, most recently, the 2016 European Championships. She became the first woman on U.S. television to serve as a color commentator for a top-tier international men’s competition.
As a decorated player, Mitts helped secure three Olympic gold medals for the U.S. Women’s National Team. She’s served as a studio analyst for the last two FIFA Women’s World Cups and held numerous sideline reporting roles, including Major League Soccer coverage. This season, she stepped in as a guest host for USL’s Game of the Week.
Watts has been the featured voice of USL coverage on ESPN3 throughout the 2016 season. He called the 2015 USL Championship match alongside current FC Cincinnati Head Coach John Harkes. Watts’ background also includes the U.S. Women’s National Team-hosted SheBelieves Cup and New York City FC coverage on the YES Network.
FOLLOW THE USL
The 2016 USL Cup will air live on ESPNU and SiriusXM FC on Sunday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET. The game will also be available through WatchESPN, accessible on computers, smartphones, tablets and connected devices to fans who receive their video subscription from an affiliated provider. Every other game of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs is available through the USL Cup Playoffs Center, with updates from across the league also available via Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram.
About United Soccer League
The United Soccer League, the longest-standing professional affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is the largest professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, and the world, currently with 29 teams in 19 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces for the 2016 season. The USL has more than doubled in size since 2014 and built a stable, highly competitive professional soccer league on a national footprint with strong ownership groups in major markets positioned for long-term success.
The 2016 season has marked the introduction of six teams – Bethlehem Steel FC, FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC and Swope Park Rangers. The league has confirmed the addition of Reno 1868 FC in 2017 and Nashville FC in 2018. The USL’s teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – with each team playing 30 regular season games. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions.