Ian Darke in as ESPN lead soccer voice

Updated: September 24, 2010, 8:46 PM ET
ESPN.com news services

BRISTOL, Conn. -- British announcer Ian Darke, who called games for the network during the World Cup, is joining ESPN as its lead soccer voice in the United States.

"Ian's experience, authenticity and passion for the sport, which were evident throughout the World Cup, will resonate with our viewers, who have come to expect top-quality soccer commentary from ESPN," said Jed Drake, senior vice president and executive producer for event production.

Darke's assignments will include Premier League matches, U.S. national team games, the 2011 Women's World Cup, the 2013 Confederations Cup and the 2014 World Cup.

He has worked in England broadcasting EPL matches on Sky Sports, and was part of ESPN's all-British play-by-play crew for the year's Cup matches, joined by Martin Tyler, Adrian Healey and Derek Rae.

"I am delighted and excited to be joining such a polished and talented team as ESPN," said Darke, who called the U.S. team's dramatic Cup win over Algeria this summer for ESPN. "It was wonderful to be calling the USA's dramatic World Cup campaign for American audiences -- and I am flattered to be asked back on a permanent basis."

Darke will make his debut as ESPN's lead play-by-play voice when he works Saturday's Chelsea-at-Manchester City EPL game. Darke will be in the booth on site from EPL stadiums each week for ESPN's U.S. audience -- a first for the network.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.