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Monday, April 22, 2024
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Hérculez Gómez on The World Cup Experience

On the eve of the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, Front Office Sports hosted Global Goals: The World Cup and Beyond, a captivating virtual summit featuring soccer’s leading analysts, former pro athletes and broadcasters who shared behind-the-scenes highlights of one of the world’s most impactful business and cultural events in sports and its reverberations on U.S. soccer.

Veteran USMNT Forward and ESPN analyst Hérculez Gomez caught up with FOS Senior Writer Owen Poindexter to share both his own 2010 World Cup experience and his second act as host of the critically acclaimed Futbol Americas studio series on ESPN+.

Here are some highlights:

You provide broadcast and commentary in both English and Spanish, and I’m wondering if first of all, if you notice any difference in the reactions you get depending on the language. 

I try to stay pretty even with my personality, with my thoughts because there is a huge crossover fan base that may have watched me in Spanish and also watched me in English. So, you want to stay consistent, and you want to be true to yourself. 

As far as the reactions, it’s pretty crazy, because I’m one of the few people probably in this market that’s going to upset somebody in multiple languages [laughs]and multiple fan bases. 

The reactions are interesting, especially on the U.S. side. And they’re consistent on the Mexican side. They see me as the anti-Mexico, the gringo with love of the U.S. But on the U.S. side there’s so many different fractions of fandom and how they respond. If I have a Major League Soccer take, there’s going to be a huge fan base on the U.S. men’s national side that’s going to jump on that and be critical. And if I’m overly critical of this younger generation, there’s going to be a huge fan base that jumps on that. There’s just so many different ways of getting a reaction out of people, especially when it comes to social media.

Are there any particular World Cup stories that you’re curious, excited, intrigued or obligated to look into here specifically?

I’m very curious to see how Qatar can host this with their own rules, regulations, laws, without this becoming the Fyre festival, if you will. I’m very curious to see how that unfolds … we’re already starting to see a few wrinkles here and there. I’m ready for everything. It’s a World Cup. You see things you don’t normally see. It is a celebration, but with that celebration people have to act responsibly and that goes as well for the country and the host.

Note: Above has been edited for clarity and brevity.

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