Few are more familar with the American soccer landscape than Jamie Watson.
His 12-year professional career spanned three leagues and nine clubs across the American soccer pyramid, including winning the USL Cup with Orlando in 2011. Since retiring from his playing career in 2016, Watson has become a familiar face to fans across the country, broadcasting games for Minnesota United, the US Open Cup, and Nashville SC. Most recently, Watson was announced as a color commentator for MLS Season Pass on Apple TV.
“I think one of the really cool things that my mom taught me at an early age, especially as I was a player, was you never know who’s watching,” Watson told Broadway Sports Media in a phone interview on Friday. “That stuck with me when I was a player, and it sort of rang true even more so as this last year of the regular broadcast rights was playing out.”
Teamed up with Tony Husband, Watson was Nashville SC’s color commentator for their first three seasons in MLS. The duo’s consistent coverage of the league over those three years turned into roles for both broadcasters as part of Apple’s new 10-year TV deal with Major League Soccer.
“It wasn’t going to be like one show was going to make or break things, but you knew sort of the sum of the collective was going to be taken into consideration. You just tried to be consistent every week and be someone that others wanted to work with.” noted Watson. “When they called and told me that I was going to be a part of [MLS Season Pass], I was really honored.”
Still based in Nashville, Watson will be in familiar territory for his third match with Apple TV. He’ll call Nashville’s Saturday night match against CF Montréal alongside Chris Wittyngham. As Nashville look to build on a strong win at home, and Montréal trying to navigate their third-consecutive game on the road, Watson is quick to point out the stark contrasts between the two teams.
“I think the 2023 version of Montréal, heading into game three of a complete overhaul and transition for the team, is a team that’s more reliant on moments within a match,” he said. Montréal saw key players like Djordje Mihailovic, Ismäel Koné, Alistair Johnston, Joaquín Torres and Kei Kamara depart in the offseason, while head coach Wilfried Nancy left to take the same role with Columbus Crew. Under new manager Hernan Losada, Watson pointed out how much their identity has changed.
“Creating goals and chances off of transition seems to be their biggest threat as it stands heading into week three. I think it will take some time before we see a complete 90 minutes from them,” he said. “They find their most dangerous moments in the match within certain plays, instead dominating a run of play and then capping that off with a well timed goal after 30 some odd passes like maybe we’ve seen in the past.”
Contrast that with Nashville SC, who have maintained essentially the same core heading into their fourth season in the league. According to Watson, that consistency has been their biggest strength.
“If you look at the consistency of the group, it’s probably been their biggest attribute,” he pointed out. “preseasons are massively different when you have a team that’s returning a group of players that’s a similar core. That’s been Nashville’s strength. That’s why it’s been so consistent, because of their ability to identify who their core players are to keep those core players.”
It’s a clear contrast between two teams in two very different situations. While Watson believes Nashville are right on track with where they want to be, Montréal are still in the early stages of a rebuild. After starting four homegrown players from their youth academy in last weekend’s 1-0 loss to Austin FC, they’ve shown promise, but will take time to show the finished product.
Returning to a familiar stadium with a new-look television product, Watson’s enthusiasm and excitement is evident over the phone. Including a brand new analytics database that allows broadcast crews to access in-depth stats in real time, a full crew and state-of-the-art broadcast equipment, he’s more excited than ever to be in the broadcast booth each weekend.
“There’s a lot of really incredibly talented people on that list that are getting to represent MLS and Apple, so to be one of them is one of the career highlights I’ve ever had as a player and a broadcaster and something I’m incredibly proud of every week.”
Tomorrow’s Nashville SC vs CF Montréal match will be broadcast exclusively on MLS Season Pass on Apple TV. Fans can sign up by following this link. Apple TV+ subscribers can sign up for $12.99 a month or $79 per season, while non-Apple TV+ subscribers can access the pass for $14.99 a month or $99 per season.
Season ticket members receive an MLS Season Pass as part of their membership. Season ticket holders should check their email for a code to redeem for MLS Season Pass access.