Jeff Larentowicz said he hopes to provide a unique point of view as an analyst when he makes his Atlanta United 2 debut for Sunday’s game against Memphis in Kennesaw. The game will be on ESPN-plus at 3:30 p.m.
Larentowicz, who played for Atlanta United from 2017-20 and helped the club win three trophies, will be in the booth with Jon Nelson because Jason Longshore, typically the analyst, will work Atlanta United’s game at Seattle that afternoon. The opportunity was set up by the team’s communications department and may be one of several for Larentowicz this season for Atlanta United 2 and Atlanta United. Larentowicz said he doesn’t know yet if this will be his next line of work, but it is something he wants to try.
Larentowicz was known as an excellent reader of the game in a pro career that started with New England in 2005. That’s a skill he wants to bring to broadcasting.
“Seeing things that maybe people aren’t seeing watching the game,” he said. “Subtleties on the field that you may not catch. As a former player you can see a look on someone’s face of a little bit of communication or a decision here and there that may not get picked up.”
Larentowicz said he hopes his style will be a mixture of the “serious Jeff” that people saw when he was a player and the “lighter Jeff” that he’s known as off the field. He said he appreciates analysts like Dan Gargan, who did Atlanta United’s TV work until 2020, Longshore, who is an excellent researcher, and Lee Dixon, who is good at mixing humor with insight in English Premier League broadcasts.
“I want to have fun,” Larentowicz said. “I don’t want people to hit mute. I really want to give the players the credit they deserve, whether it’s an Atlanta United 2 player or a Memphis player.”
With that thought, he said as long as he doesn’t have a “Boom, goes the dynamite” moment Sunday he thinks it will be successful. Having done thousands of interviews, Larentowicz is adept at thinking and speaking in the moment. The pregame scripted elements will be new to him but he said he should do fine.
“Jeff will always be a key part of Atlanta United’s history, and we’re excited to welcome him back to the club to make his broadcasting debut,” Atlanta United President Darren Eales said in statement from the club. “Throughout his decorated career, Jeff was as cerebral on the pitch as he was off it. It’s evident he’ll be able to make that natural progression into the broadcast industry.”
As was his approach as a professional player, Larentowicz is doing due diligence with the prep work. He already met with Nelson and Longshore and researched and watched videos of Atlanta United 2′s and Memphis’ players.
He doesn’t yet know what his goal call will be, but said if Atlanta United 2 plays like it did in Wednesday’s 5-0 thrashing of Tulsa he will get a lot of practice.
“I feel like a goal call is kind of like a celebration; you don’t know what you are going to do,” he said. “You just have to react. Watching these guys plays, they’ve got a lot of energy. Even when they score you can see what it means to them. I’m just going to say what I see.”
About the Author
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com