Behind the Charlotte FC microphone, with broadcaster Jessica Charman
British-born Jessica Charman, the first full-time female radio broadcaster in MLS, dishes on overcoming skepticism, her work ethic and her favorite moments of Charlotte FC's first season
Charlotte FC radio broadcaster Jessica Charman is at home in the booth. (Photo courtesy of Charman.)
Just four years out of college, calling her first season of MLS soccer, it’s a wonder how Charlotte FC radio color broadcaster Jessica Charman can sound so utterly polished. And no, it’s not because of her lovely English accent. As you’ll find out listening to our first ever Futbol Friday podcast, Charman has been not only dreaming of this opportunity since she was a little girl playing soccer on the boys’ teams and listening along to Reading FC broadcasts, growing up in Middlesex, England. But working hard to make it happen. She still is.
Charman chose to accept a soccer scholarship to play goalkeeper for Clayton State in part because the school would give her chances to hone broadcasting skills. Even as she shines this season as the first full-time female radio broadcaster in MLS, she still goes back to call college soccer games, including for Clayton State. She’s calling two this week, before broadcasting Charlotte FC’s game against the Chicago Fire on Saturday night.
“It's all about continuing to do what I love and you can only get better if you continue to work,” Charman said. “Yes, I've done MLS and yes, Charlotte FC is the best thing that ever happened to me, but I have to continue to grind at all levels and I don't ever want to feel like I'm too good for an opportunity. It is very important to me to continue to work on my craft at all levels.”
In this in depth interview, she stresses that she wants to be “the right person for the job,” regardless of her gender. But she also describes how her experiences early on playing as a girl in a male-dominated sport growing up on the outskirts of London shaped her and given her the tools to thrive in this setting now.
“There was a lot of it comments about ‘Oh, you must be butch to play soccer,’ you must have a different sexual orientation, like it was used as an insult,” Charman said.
”There was lots of horrible comments made as I was growing up….I think that that is something I was able to turn into a positive, like ‘People are gonna have doubts. People are gonna tell you this isn't for you or you have no right doing this.’ But as long as you have the right people behind you, and as long as your mentality is correct, you're going to be able to do it.”
In the podcast, Charman explains the role her father played in supporting her, why the movie “Bend it like Beckham” had such a big impact on the trajectory of her life. and what her favorite call of the 2022 season has been and why. Listen on to hear her story. And yes, it’s almost cheating to have a radio broadcaster as a guest on a podcast, especially your first, but we aren’t too proud. Charman is a great listen in any format!
Carroll Walton is a longtime baseball writer with the Atlanta Journal-Constitution now cutting her teeth on soccer and the Charlotte FC just as fans in Charlotte do. She would love to hear from you. E-mail her with questions, suggestions, story ideas and comments!
Need to sign up for this e-newsletter? We offer a free version, as well as paid memberships for full access to all 4 of our local newsletters:
➡️ Learn more about The Charlotte Ledger
The Charlotte Ledger is a locally owned media company that delivers smart and essential news through e-newsletters and on a website. We strive for fairness and accuracy and will correct all known errors. The content reflects the independent editorial judgment of The Charlotte Ledger. Any advertising, paid marketing, or sponsored content will be clearly labeled.
Like what we are doing? Feel free to forward this along and to tell a friend.
Sponsorship information/customer service: email firstname.lastname@example.org.