Ray Hudson : Good Player, Magisterial Commentator!
If you have ever caught a soccer match on BeIn Sports, you are probably familiar with the name Ray Hudson. Even if you don’t know his name, chances are you know his voice and analysis.
BeIn owns the American broadcasting rights to three of the five biggest soccer leagues in the world — Spain’s La Liga, Italy’s Serie A, and France’s League 1. One of the network’s marquee voices is that of 61-year-old British pundit Ray Hudson.
Hudson, who was once a player himself, has become a cult figure in the soccer world thanks to his unmistakable style which often includes comments like “pouring beer into a thimble,” following a brilliant free kick or pass; “braver than a matador in a pink tutu” when commenting on defense; “magisterial” when recording a brilliant goal.
Whether you have never watched a game of soccer before or if you are a lifelong fan, Hudson is the man you want to hear. If you loathe the sport for any reason, his voice will instantly make you a fan. Take our word for it.
Ray Hudson The Player
In 1973, a 17-year-old Hudson made his debut for Newcastle United. The midfielder was a fan favorite and quickly earned the nickname “Rocky” from Toon supporters.
Following a four-year stay with the club, he made a name for himself outside of England when he played in America’s first pro soccer league, the North American Soccer League (NASL). Hudson was a star for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers.
In a January 2017 episode of BeIn’s marquee program, The Locker Room, he discussed why he went to play for the Strikers, he cited the money but “I never heard of Ft. Lauderdale. When my agent said it is near Miami, I said ‘sign me up!’”
In over 175 caps for the team, he scored 42 goals and faced players like Shep Messing, Pele, Franz Beckenbauer, and Georgio Chianglia of the New York Cosmos, Johan Cruyff who played for the L.A. Aztecs and Washington Diplomats, and George Best of the L.A. Aztecs. Best would later become a Striker with Hudson.
Ray Hudson’s playing career lasted until the early 90s after the NASL folded and various smaller leagues in America and Canada tried to take shape in the organization’s absence.
In the early 2000s he coached Miami’s short-lived MLS side the Fusion before heading to D.C. to be a manager of United.
However, South Florida seemed to take a place in the man’s heart as he resided there and when BeIn came calling, he didn’t have to go far.
The Tao of Ray
In 2002, Ray Hudson joined ESPN to commentate for the World Cup in Korea / Japan. The Brit’s quick wits, clever vocabulary, and passionate delivery made him someone that fans quickly fell in love with as they woke up at 3 a.m. to watch matches each day for a month.
By 2004, he joined GolTV as a commentator and refurbished his on camera career and craft and in 2012, SiriusXM and BeIn, then brand new, came calling. He has been working both gigs since and his love of the game is evident every time he stands behind a mic or in front of a camera.
This is a man who could sell ice to an Eskimo – which I believe is one of his lines or if it isn’t, he is more than free to steal it.
Latin American announcers have pundits and commentators that scream “GOOOOOOOOOAAAAALLL!” after a ball hits the back of a net. Their energy, passion, and fire is displayed in those 20 seconds of that word being sustained on the air. For Hudson, it is similar, but his burns like a firecracker on the 4th of July.
His popularity has caused fans to craft Tumblr and Twitter accounts based on his phrases. BeIn even gave him a digital series called “Ray Hudson Raw” which is him going off on his favorite things from the games he watched over the weekend.
In 2013, The New York Times called him a “Vocal Acrobat” and to top it all off, in 2014, Dairy Queen hired him as a spokesperson and let him deliver his famous phrases for one of their products.
He told the Times his style is “ludicrously bombastic” and “spectacularly colorful.” In the same interview, he added: “It’s not just a game for me. It fills my life. It’s not just the 90 minutes of the game; throughout the week, it’s the leading up to it. Soccer comes right at you, a tidal wave of emotion and great athletic feats. It’s such an instant pleasure.”
If anyone ever says soccer is a boring game, they clearly never watched one with Ray Hudson speaking.