Legendary soccer broadcaster Andrés Cantor has one of the most recognizable calls in all of sports with his famous, passionate “Goooooooool!” that has been heard by millions on the radio network, Fútbol de Primera, during the past four World Cups.
Soccer fans will now be able to put a face to the man behind the long goal cry beginning today, as Cantor will call his first World Cup match on television since 1998.
“It’s an honor and privilege to lead the Telemundo coverage of the FIFA World Cup here in Russia,” said Cantor, who graduated from San Marino High School in 1980. “It’s great to be back on television doing the World Cup.”
Telemundo, owned by parent company NBCUniversal, reportedly paid $600 billion for the broadcasting rights of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, and the network is going all out with its coverage this summer. Cantor, 55, and a group of expert analysts and reporters will be onsite to challenge Fox Sports, which will have most of its broadcasting team covering the prestigious tournament from a studio in Los Angeles.
“We have assembled a great group of talent that works beyond the people who work at Telemundo Deportes every single day and every single weekend on air,” said Cantor, who has been at Telemundo since leaving rival network Univision in 2000. “We have brought in coaches and players very recognizable to the Latin American audience but also the English-language audience like Diego Forlan, who played for Manchester United, Juan Pablo Angel, who played [Major League Soccer], and Tab Ramos, who is the coach of the under-20 U.S. Men’s National Team.”
With a standout broadcasting team, Cantor hopes to attract some of the English-language viewers by giving objective, fair coverage of every team in the tournament and showcasing its current and rising stars.
“Obviously, we expected the U.S. National Team to be here,” Cantor said. “It’s a pity they’re not in Russia. It didn’t affect or alter our plans because we treat all 32 teams with the upmost respect and we will have coverage of all 32 teams throughout the World Cup.
“I would urge viewers just to enjoy the game. We have many superstars like Leo Messi [of Argentina], Cristiano Ronaldo [Portugal], Neymar [Brazil] and many others on every team, so I think the U.S. viewer and U.S. National Team fan that expected the U.S. team to be here can enjoy a great tournament with World Cup players playing their best game right now like the ones I mentioned and many others who will emerge.”
If the talent on the field isn’t enough for fans, then surely Cantor’s narration will draw English-language viewers as they wait for his iconic call after a goal is scored.
“Fútbol is done better in Español,” said Cantor, who recently won his fifth Sports Emmy for Outstanding On-Air Sports Personality in Spanish. “We live it with a lot of passion, and that is the way we transmit our passion to the viewer. I’m not saying no one else has the love for the game that we have, but we have a lot of love for the game and it transcends language and barriers, and that is why many English-language fans prefer our coverage.”
Cantor was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where he developed a passion for soccer and became a fan of the local professional club, Boca Juniors. His family moved to San Marino when he was a teenager and he attended the high school as a senior.
The famous broadcaster played on the varsity boys’ soccer team and also joined the San Marino High School newspaper as the sports editor.
“We made it for the first time to [the CIF playoffs],” Cantor recalled his time as a Titan. “I remember very vividly that year of school. It was great. … For the first time in the Titan newspaper, we included soccer in our coverage because we did so well.”
Cantor was a big reason why San Marino made the playoffs in 1980, and the former Titan wasn’t shy about his contributions to the program.
“I wasn’t being biased, but every time I wrote about the games, it happened to be that I was the best player on the pitch,” he said with a laugh. “And the byline said, ‘By Andrés Cantor.’ True story. From time to time, I had to tell the truth. [A story written] by Andrés Cantor, and by the way, he happened to be the best player. A little piece of my heart was left in San Marino when I lived there and went to school [at San Marino High School].”
After graduating from SMHS, Cantor studied journalism at USC and covered the World Cup in 1986 as a print reporter. Not long after, he was hired by Univision, where he developed his unmistakable “Goooooooooool!” call that was heard in the 1990, 1994 and 1998 World Cups. Cantor’s excitement and passion for the sport is evident with a cry of one simple word, and, for him, there’s no better time to say it than during the biggest tournament of the world.
“Every four year years, the World Cup attracts the attention of the world,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what times we live in. We’re living in difficult and very complicated times, politically, if you will. We hope this World Cup unites the world. It sounds cliché. To tell you the truth, it doesn’t matter when the World Cup gets played. The world gets paralyzed because this is the major sporting event in the world. Obviously, I’m biased. … It’s going to be a great World Cup.”
The 2018 FIFA World Cup begins today and will be played until July 15.