Dave Johnson talks about the magic of sports, his amazing broadcasting career, and battling MS 10/05/2022


Dave JohnsonA play-by-play man since its launch in 1996, DC United began his career in broadcasting football in the 1980s. He is also the voice of WTOP Radio’s Director of Sports and NBA Morning Sports announcer.

SOCCER AMERICA: What are your early memories of the evolution of the attraction to football?

Dave Johnson: I remember the pellet A game against the Dallas Tornado on CBS in 1975. That was the time I was playing in my area. I was curious about it then. I remember that match vaguely – and it was the first game of the Washington diplomats against Philadelphia on TV and I remember that. I really wanted to go to a diplomats’ match that summer, but I never did.

I vividly remember my first game with the Diplomats in 1979. We beat the Fort Lauderdale Strikers 2-1 at RFK. That summer, I went to a lot of games because I was 15 – I was allowed on the subway to go to the games. Then Johan Cruyff It came in 1980 and the rest is history.

QQ: What role has football played in your life then?

Dave Johnson: Sports have always been magic to me. My mom had multiple sclerosis so she was always in a wheelchair. When we were at sporting events, it was always a special time.

The 1979 Strikers were the last game she was able to attend before her death later that year. Football took on more meanings… its association with me is very touching for me. It helped me and gave me a positive light in very dark periods. Passion for something is huge because we all face challenges.

It was the summer of 1980, a year after my mother died – but Cruyff was in town, we were getting big crowds and we were going to host the Soccer Bowl. It was a magical year.

Somaya: The importance of sport in providing escape and a sense of community…

Dave Johnson: I mean, that’s it. Thats all about it. That’s why I don’t lose my head in winning and losing. This doesn’t mean I don’t have a passion for winning, but it’s all about the connections you make and the time you spend. Major League Soccer and DC United are a prime example of this. How else would you have that connection to lifelong friends if it wasn’t for football giving you an excuse to bring you all together?

It’s cliched, but it’s true: a K-street lawyer is right next to the construction worker and there’s a common link.

My favorite time is looking at RFK Stadium and seeing people come in and for those two hours, it won’t matter what’s going on in their life, or their job, or anything else – it might just be important that they tossed a free T-shirt in there.

You feel frustrated by the loss, but isn’t it good to take care of something so much that it stings a little? If you focus on the positives, win or lose, you will always have a winner – at least I think. Still that’s all.

QA: You talked about the importance of your mother in your early radio career…

Dave Johnson: She had multiple sclerosis, which i have now. She was in a wheelchair – talk about the presence of a captive audience. I was cutting lines from newspapers and making fancy baseball and basketball calls—there was no football in the area until 1975. But I had one audience and she always gave me the platform to be creative. It was special back then and even more special now that I do it for a living.

In some ways, I do what I did when I was 6 years old. I hope to be a little better.

CA: I’ve been a broadcaster on DC United’s gameplay since the beginning of its season. What was it like broadcasting from RFK Stadium, the same stadium where you watched diplomats in your childhood?

Dave Johnson: The dream comes true. I went through the pain of losing the diplomats in 1980. They were covering us on the evening news, average fans at a game were 20,000, and bowl football sold out – happy days here. Then when the team of diplomats and NASL pulled out, there was nothing.

I graduated from college in 1986, and wanted to be a football broadcaster. It wasn’t the best idea for a career at the time because there wasn’t any professional football.

You have contacted the legendary Gordon Bradley At ASL, who is still one of the best people I’ve met in my life. It’s those types – Bradley, Clive CharlesAnd Clay Burling – who made these conversations possible. Soccer America – The most exciting thing was when I got home from school and the Soccer America team was there. This was very exciting because there was no internet but there was Soccer America. We’re logged in now, but I’m still reading some of the people I’ve read since then.

Gordon Bradley was president of the Washington Stars and I was doing radio for them. Fast forward and we’ve got a league, fans – that’s what I’ve always wished for.

who – which [MLS] In the first match, 20,000 people showed up. I still remember it was before the All-Star Game in 1996 and we had a tropical storm moving through our area. I’m thinking, “Boy, only 500 people are going to be at RFK tonight.” Instead we got 20,000. It was one thing after another that made me so happy about that first season of 1996. I can still remember Carlos Valderrama I got a red card in that match. In the pouring rain, I strutted about 75 yards out of the game—the tunnel to the visitor’s locker room was in the other end’s area.

To go to RFK after so many years, having saved up when I was 16 for season tickets… It’s hard to say what that means.

Sami: What broadcaster did you learn the most from or researched the most during your formative years?

Dave Johnson: I suspect Jim Karvilas. I was also a basketball fan and went to do a New York Knicks game. I could still hear him say, “Chinaglia! Yes!” He had the perfect situation because he was practicing in the NBA and NASL. At the time, football was a sport that some people laughed at. He was a mainstream man who valued her and not only gave her a chance, but helped promote her.

It’s all about it – warmth and kindness assured with the way it went in the broadcast.

Somaya: An up-and-coming broadcaster that you enjoy listening to?

Dave Johnson: I know it sounds crazy, but I love listening to it Matthew Ponter employment Hereford Radio Hereford FC – They are a sixth tier team in England.

Sumaya: Your goal, “It’s in the net!” He is legendary. Do you remember the first time you used it?

Dave Johnson: That was during indoor soccer. I don’t remember the first time. This was previous social media, remember, and suddenly people started mentioning it to me. Then I started doing it more. I checked the goal moment – the exciting moment. It is meant to be what it is, an expression of feelings.

Soumaya: Advice for young broadcasters?

Dave Johnson: be yourself. It sounds cliched, but you’ll find out who you are and think things through – it’s like any craft, it’s important to be your authentic self.

I always put it this way: If the counselor has got John MaddenWe didn’t have John Madden. The counselor was going to turn him into something he wasn’t. It is important to be who you are. Who am I not based on silly dizziness – games have always been happy and special times. Whether it’s early March or when the season is at stake in the playoffs.

Left to right: Dave Johnson, Marco Echeveri, Jaime Moreno, Eddie Pope and John Harks at Moreno’s last appearance at DC United in 2010 (Tony Quinn / ISI Photos)

QA: Best game you’ve come across?

Dave Johnson: When we beat the Columbus Crew in 2012 to go into the playoffs at RFK. Louis Neal Score the final goal. Just the sentiment that night – we haven’t been in the playoffs since 2007. So I’m referring to this match just because it’s a combination of a lot of things going on there. We were a storied club and suddenly there were four seasons when things didn’t go right. This game definitely comes to mind.

The opening match at the Audi stadium with Wayne Rooney – The moment you say, “There is only a football field in the capital!” I remember losing a professional soccer team outside of RFK. I remember and the NFL team that couldn’t get 2,000 people to RFK. Now, all of a sudden, we’re in the heart of the city. You look to the right and you see the Capitol and you look to the left and you see the monument, for goodness sake.

This will always stand out. It was truly a surreal moment.

QA: Worst game you’ve come across?

Dave Johnson: I remember calling Maryland Bays [APSL] A game in Salt Lake City against a team called Salt Lake Sting. They were that team that did well at the gate but suddenly lost their ownership. I remember they had a big crowd there – that was in 1991. But as we were walking off the field that night, the coach was saying that if they didn’t get your money in the next two weeks, they would have to quit. They have folded.

There was sadness because that was a time period where – there must have been 6000 people there that night, a big crowd at the time, but they didn’t have an owner. That time period from the late ’80s, early ’90s – you were hoping the league would go on but the teams fall apart. Eventually, the Maryland Bays ran out of money, too.

So I think my bar is a little different. If the league is still thriving, I’m happy.

QA: Your battle with MS has been covered before. Would you be willing to share your well-being with the Soccer America fans? Has it become difficult for you to do your job?

Dave Johnson: Yes, I am lucky to be in a position where I can Raise a lot of money to treat multiple sclerosis. This year we found several sponsors and raised over $100,000 in George Mason hockey. This is the disease that killed my mother. I’m committed that this should be part of my mission – to try to get us to a point where we have a cure.

I didn’t slow down. I see MS as a competition – if MS hangs out with me, I’ll make sure it gets tiring. I’ve got a new normal and anyone with MS appreciates that there are challenges. My symptoms don’t change day by day – I don’t walk as gracefully as I did before, but I’ve never been so graceful. It’s just a new normal.

MS is one of the most expensive diseases to treat, so I’m lucky to have insurance I can rely on but not everyone is so lucky. Therefore, we do what we can to make life better for MS patients.

Dave Johnson’s Top 3 Favorite Football Books
1. degree of fever By Nick Hornby
2. bright orange Written by David Weiner
3. kick in the grass Written by Clive Toy

Top 3 Favorite Dave Johnson Movies
1. Next goal wins (thomas rongen american samoa training
2. degree of fever (British version)
3. Once in a Life: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

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Last year DC United produced this 8-minute piece that chronicles her career so far Dave JohnsonGreetings from Bruce ArenaAnd John HarksAnd Ben Olsenand many more:

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