Typically in sports broadcasting, the person calling the game isn’t responsible for also operating the camera but Baltimore-based broadcaster Christian Taylor has gotten pretty good at doing both.
Taylor has been doing play-by-play on live streams for several area teams that are part of the Northeast Elite Soccer League and other competitions, becoming a regular fixture since soccer returned from Covid-19 shutdowns in July.
“It’s been a lot of fun,” Taylor said in a recent phone interview. “With college sports shut down it’s been really good to have the opportunity. These guys are all D1, D3 players who are still trying to play at a high level so the talent is good and as you saw with Christos they were able to beat Philadelphia Union II.”
Christos FC, the team that made national news for their run in the U.S. Open Cup in 2017, came up to Chester to play a friendly against Union II in late October. Taylor was set up on the sideline at the Power Training Complex with a camera on a tripod doing the play-by-play. He returned to Chester a few days later to call a game in Subaru Park between Union II and West Chester United.
“I’ve picked up a different skill identifying players and remembering stories off the top of my head without looking at my notes,” Taylor said.
The key for Taylor has been added preparation time memorizing names and talking with coaches and team staff before games to gain insight. Union II rosters, fluid as they are, presented a unique challenge but he’s found a good rhythm calling games with West Chester United, which played FC Baltimore Christos in a U.S. Open Cup game Taylor did PA announcing for in May 2019, and doesn’t seem too troubled pronouncing the name of the Warminster-based club Vereinigung Erzgebirge.
Taylor’s voice has become one of the signatures of the Northeast Elite Soccer League, a regional league that includes Christos FC, FC Motown, Jackson Lions, Safira FC, West Chester United and Vereinigung Erzgebirge. He also has a podcast with FC Motown broadcaster Charlie Brooks focused on the league.
“I think it’s really cool to be able to start something up like this and it’s nice to just not only have video but have commentary with it,” he said. “I think if you’re sitting there watching a game and you see somebody calling it it kind of makes it legit.”
Taylor has also called some other competitions — a USL PA game between West Chester United and VE and an Eastern PA Amateur Cup game between West Chester United and Lancaster City FC and others. The cup game stream on MyCujoo has had nearly 9,000 views.
“That was wow,” Taylor said.
A Michigan native, Taylor moved to the Baltimore area in 2018 after graduating from Central Michigan University. He quickly made a name for himself in lower division soccer circles by doing something not all that common in the National Premier Soccer League: calling home and road games for FC Baltimore Christos in their inaugural season in 2018.
The connections he was able to build in Baltimore led to the gigs he’s had here in the Philadelphia area and given him additional opportunities to continue honing his craft even during a pandemic that led to the cancelation of the NPSL and USL League Two seasons along with every college program in the region.
“When this virus hit, Christos were the ones still playing so I got with them and then just continued from there and you know it’s been really fun,” Taylor said.
Taylor will be back in the area to call a game at The Proving Grounds between Christos FC and West Chester United. The game will be streamed live on MyCujoo beginning at 3:50 p.m.