Arlo White is just grateful that he recognized Alex Morgan's head.
NBC's play-by-play announcer for Olympic women's soccer doesn't want to think about what would have happened had he blown the call of Morgan's last-minute goal in the U.S. team's 4-3 semifinal victory over Canada. It has already become his much-repeated signature call for an American audience.
Thursday brings the opportunity for more drama, and a big audience, as the U.S. team takes on Japan in the gold medal game at Wembley Stadium in London.
White worked for a decade in his native Britain for BBC Radio before moving to the U.S. two years ago, where he's the lead announcer for Major League Soccer on the NBC Sports Network. He endured a few months of teasing from his British friends for having to say "soccer" instead of "football," but he's become used to speaking to an American audience.
Five years of broadcasting the Super Bowl on the BBC taught White about calling a sport where many listeners don't know the nuances of the game. He believes it's up to the newcomers to learn some things on their own.
"The die-hards will not want to be spoon-fed," he said. "The novices will not want to be blinded by science. But there is a happy medium and hopefully we're striking that."
White said he sensed the Canada match would be a good one. The two teams didn't particularly like one another, both squads were playing well and the U.S. women have a penchant for drama.
"Once the goals started flowing in the beginning of the second half, you knew it was going to be something special," he said.
Now happily in London for the final game, White had two weeks' worth of relentless traveling to places like Glasgow and Manchester for early-round matches. He slept on a table in a train compartment and said he's been subsisting mostly on potato chips and coffee.
He partners with Brandi Chastain, who endured some unwanted publicity when U.S. goalie Hope Solo trashed her on Twitter. The flap hasn't affected their work, White said, "not in the slightest. I think Brandi was very professional throughout the whole situation."
She also hasn't had much need to criticize the U.S. defenders lately.
White said he hasn't had time to think what the exposure during the Olympics will mean for his career. He's most looking forward to the "buzz" everyone will get when they walk into Wembley and calling a game that means so much. The U.S. has been eager for such a matchup since losing the World Cup to Japan. Continued...