Getting to know broadcaster Jessica Charman
Plus: captain Fuchs suspended for three of final four games, Charlotte players have 2 spots in top 10 of jersey sales, preview of Saturday match vs. Chicago
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Charman breaking barriers with Charlotte FC
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 dreamed 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. She has worked hard to make it happen.
Charman accepted a soccer scholarship to play goalkeeper for Clayton State in the Atlanta area 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 on the outskirts of London shaped her and gave her the tools to thrive in this setting now.
Enduring insults, doubts: “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 going to have doubts. People are going to 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!
➡️ You can listen 🎧 to broadcaster Jessica Charman’s 27-minute conversation with soccer writer Carroll Walton — and other Charlotte-focused podcasts from The Charlotte Ledger, on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and other popular podcast platforms. Search for “Charlotte Ledger.”
Fuchs serving suspensions for three of final four games
This yellow card on Fuchs was changed to red after video replay. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC.)
When players receive a red card in a game, as Charlotte FC captain Christian Fuchs did last Saturday in the 1-0 win over New York FC, they are automatically suspended for the next game. Major League Soccer’s Disciplinary Committee reviewed a replay of Fuchs’ elbow to Tayvon Gray’s face this week and levied an additional one-game suspension.
Fuchs was already due to serve a suspension against Columbus on Oct. 5, in a game that was rescheduled because of rain. Fuchs got that suspension after being booked for a red card against Toronto. So all told, Charlotte FC is going to be without Fuchs’ services for three of the final four regular season games, including this Saturday in Chicago and on Oct. 1 against the Philadelphia Union. The only remaining scheduled game he’ll be eligible to play is Oct. 9 at the New York Red Bulls.
Fuchs received a red card Saturday for throwing the elbow to Gray’s forehead as he jockeyed for position in front of the goal during a Charlotte FC corner kick in the 55th minute. After taking an additional look during the week, the committee ruled the elbow was considered “violent conduct” and also fined Fuchs an undisclosed amount. Charlotte FC managed to hang on to a 1-0 lead the rest of the way Saturday playing a man down.
Charlotte FC has played without Fuchs during stretches this season, at times due to injury, at times for tactical reasons, and learned to adapt. With center back Guzman Corujo out with a season-ending knee injury, Charlotte’s back four have gotten used to being under duress.
Charlotte has gotten a lift with a pair of international additions in Frenchman Adilson Malanda at center back and Englishman Nathan Byrne at right back. Now with Byrne, Harrison Afful and Jaylin Lindsey all on the depth chart at right back, coach Christian Lattanzio has experimented with using the veteran Afful at left back as well, something he said Thursday he intends to continue.
Don’t be surprised to see midfielder Brandt Bronico with the captain’s armband in Fuchs’ absence. Bronico wore it for the first time during Charlotte FC’s game in Cincinnati.
Fuchs, Swiderski among Top 10 in jersey sales
Swiderski sporting the alternate black version, or “community kit,” of his No. 11 jersey. (Photo courtesy of Charlotte FC.)
Christian Fuchs, No. 22, and Karol Swiderski, No. 11, are among the top 25 in jerseys sales in Major League Soccer, the league announced this week. Fuchs’ jersey is the second biggest seller in MLS, trailing only Welsh superstar Gareth Bale, who was acquired this summer by Los Angeles Football Club. Swiderski’s jersey was at No. 7.
The rankings are based on overall retail sales of adidas MLS jerseys on MLSstore.com since the beginning of 2022 season through Sept. 1.
Up Next: Charlotte FC (11-17-2) vs. Chicago Fire (9-14-8)
When/Where: 8 p.m. Saturday, Soldier Field, Chicago
How to watch: WAXN (Channel 64), Telemundo, or live stream at www.charlottefootballclub/live or on the Charlotte FC app. Local restrictions apply.
Chicago is coming off a midweek loss to Montreal, which all but squashed its playoff hopes, while Charlotte FC comes in better rested and still believing after a 1-0 win over New York FC kept their playoff hopes alive.
Charlotte FC fell to the Chicago Fire 3-2 on Aug. 6 at Bank of America Stadium, proving vulnerable to the midfield mistake and counterattack conversion.
The experiment of moving Swiderski from striker to attacking midfielder paid off last week when he served up a pass from the right flank to a streaking Daniel Rios, who headed it in for the only goal in a 1-0 victory over New York.
Kamil Jozwiak is questionable with a minor injury from practice. Lattanzio said he’ll be tested further on Friday but that the team was feeling positive about his progress.
While the team is off for the international break next week, Swiderski (Poland) and winger Yordy Reyna (Peru) will travel home to play for their respective national teams.
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!
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Looking forward to listening to the podcast!