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Legendary Telemundo and National Soccer Hall of Fame Broadcaster Andrés Cantor can't wait for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022

Andres Cantor photo.jpg
Telemundo/Eva Mejicanos/NBC Universal
Legendary and National Soccer Hall of Fame announcer Andrés Cantor

Legendary Telemundo and National Soccer Hall of Fame (2021 Inductee) Announcer Andrés Cantor will be leading an expanded lineup of commentary experts covering this fall's World Cup. Telemundo Deportes, the exclusive Spanish-language home of the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022™, made the announcement this week as it kicked off the 100-day countdown to the start of the tournament, airing live exclusively in Spanish on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock.

World Cup Telemundo.jpeg
Telemundo/Eva Mejicanos/NBC Universal
World Cup action airs live exclusively in Spanish on Telemundo, Universo and Peacock

Andres Cantor joined SportsJam with Doug Doyle to talk about his amazing career and his excitement about calling World Cup matches.

Andres and Doug on SportsJam.jpg
Doug Doyle/Zoom
Andres Cantor shows off his passion to the delight of Sportsjam host Doug Doyle

Cantor's rise to fame is a interesting one. At the age of 15, he moved with his family from his native Argentina to Southern California. After graduating from USC and wanting to be a journalist, he was ready to head back to Argentina because soccer wasn't popular in the U.S. at that time and he wanted to cover the sport he loved. But a phone call in 1987 changed all that and changed the course of soccer history as well.

"I got a phone call from the person that ended up being my boss at SIN (Spanish International Network), that's what the network was called back then, and said 'We know about you, we saw you around' because I was covering different sports for a company in Argentina because I wanted to be a written journalist, I didn't know I was going to end up in radio and television and he said 'We have to games to record, we're going to give you an audition'. So I did color commentary February of 1987 on the first game. He took me to lunch and said that he could tell I knew a lot about soccer by my commentary but...and after the but I expected thank you very much, let's ask for the check, go back home, you're done and he said but we're looking for a play-by-play guy, 'Do you think you could do play-by-play in the second game we're going to take?' I said sure why not? I believe I was 23 way back then, what's a 23-year old going to say? I said yes, of course. So I did play-by-play in the second game and the person that game me my first full-time job liked it I guess and here we are so many years later."

Known best for his exciting "GOOOOOAL" call through the years, Cantor has become a pop culture icon, appearing in movies (Speed Racer in 2008), television talk shows like David Letterman and voicing himself on Fox's sitcom The Simpsons.

Cantor was thrilled to be inducted into the National Soccer Hall of Fame in Frisco, Texas last year.

"Well it was certainly a day that will live forever in my heart and my family's heart. I've been lucky Doug to have win six Emmy Awards and that is just an award that's on a shelf, just having my name in the National Soccer Hall of Fame as the Colin Jose Media Award winner in 202 and to think my name will live forever in that building, my children were there but my grandchildren and perhaps their children if they happen to like soccer and they want to go by and see who I was, they'll be able to see my name there and for the many generations of soccer fans that have been so kind to me throughout my career, just to go in there and see my name, I have no way to pay back the Soccer Hall of Fame did for my life and my career. It's such a terrific and tremendous honor that was bestowed upon me is unforgettable and I think about it everyday."

Telemundo has been Cantor's broadcast home for more than two decades.

Telemundo/Eva Mejicanos/NBC Universal
Andres Cantor began his run at Telemundo in 2000

"To be able to call Telemundo my second family is not a minor thing. I am so ever grateful for them to trust me for 22 years now. I moved to Telemundo in April of 2000 when they did not have the FIFA World Cup rights, so now it's like a match made in heaven that they have the World Cup rights until 2026. I'm ever grateful for Telemundo, the network to trust my voice, my instincts and my knowledge to make me their chief commentator but I also forget the audience that has accepted me into their living rooms for so many years."

The humble Cantor helped put Univision on the map in 1994 calling the majority of World Cup games. He is the owner and main play by play announcer of Futbol de Primera, a radio network which owns the Spanish-language radio rights of the FIFA World Cups since 2002.

Even though Cantor loves the Argentinian national team, he is also passionate about the U.S. Soccer teams, both men and women's national squads. He has dual citizenship in the U.S. and Argentina. His two favorite calls involved legendary American World Cup performers, Landon Donovan's game-winning goal in 2010 and Carli Lloyd's (Rutgers University star) half-field goal in 2015 Vancouver World Cup Final against Japan.

"I've told her regardless of gender, I don't care what everyone says, that is probably one of the greatest goals in World Cup history. That has to be up there with Diego Maradona's 1986 goal. I've been a U.S. die-hard soccer fan from day one."

MSNBC Events - Season 2019
Behind The Scenes
Telemundo Summer of Soccer event at Fogo De Chao in New York, NY on Tuesday, March 19th, 2019 -- Pictured: (l-r) Ana Jurka, Carli Lloyd and Andres Cantor -- (Photo by: Lars Nikki/MSNBC)

Maradona died in 2020 but the Argentinian superstar will always hold a place in the heart of Cantor.

"For me, there is no player like him yet, I haven't seen him, (Lionel) Messi has come close but for me Diego was the greatest of all-time.

Andrés Cantor's son Nico is also a broadcaster and works for Paramount+, CBS Sports Network and a play-by-play announcer for the Futbol de Primera Radio Network.

While Andrés has created a broadcasting legacy, he's far from ending his career. He'll be calling two World Cup games a day.

"The 90-minute of the World Cup game, for me it's like 64 Super Bowls rolled into one month, so I'm going to give it the same energy and increase the level of intensity of my vocal chords and my stamina on the broadcast because I'm there every four years."

Knowing that, we can't wait to hear him this time in Qatar.

During this SportsJam interview, Cantor mentioned his adoration for the late Dodgers announcer Vin Scully and the late Lakers play-by-play man Chick Hearn. While he never met either of those legendary broadcasters, he grew up listening to both of them and considers Scully the GOAT of all GOATS.

You can SEE the entire SportsJam interview with Andrés Cantor here.

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Doug Doyle has been News Director at WBGO since 1998 and has taken his department to new heights in coverage and recognition. Doug and his staff have received more than 200 awards from organizations like PRNDI, AP, New York Association of Black Journalists, Garden State Association of Black Journalists and the New Jersey Society of Professional Journalists.