Unprofessional Foul


February 4, 2010

Interview: Lara Baldesarra Knows Her Soccer

FSR's newest co-anchor.

It’s been a while since UF has had an interview, but today we have one, and a good one at that. Fox Soccer Report’s newest anchor, Lara Baldesarra, was kind enough to indulge us and answer a few questions. After reading through her answers, one thing is clear: Lara knows her soccer.

After the jump, find out what her FSR co-anchors do for hazing, which clubs she supports, and her unknown connection to UF.

Since you have just started at Fox Soccer Report, tell us about your broadcasting background.  How did you first get involved in broadcasting?

I grew-up with a very athletic and sports-oriented family, so games and sports shows were always on the TV and radio.  I didn’t always want to be in broadcasting though. I think I actually wanted to be the first, female wide receiver in the NFL and to play for the Oakland Raiders. But, since that didn’t exactly pan-out for me, I turned my focus to the next best thing which was sports broadcasting.

After I graduated from the University of Toronto with my Specialist in Urban and Economic Geography, I turned my focus completely to sports journalism and broadcasting with post-grad studies.  I hosted my own sports radio show for a while.  And then I did a lot of color commentary, hosting, anchoring, and interviewing work on Rogers TV, but it was basically a dream come true when I got to be the commentator and analyst for the Canadian Soccer League, because soccer is the sport that I love, have loved, and will love forever.  I also spent a lot of time with TSN working with the show Off the Record with Michael Landsberg.  It was an amazing experience for me because I not only got to work on a fantastic sports show, but I also had the chance to learn from Michael who is one of the best hosts and interviewers in the world.

As the newest person on the show, do you have to do the unenviable tasks for the program?  Is there hazing in the broadcast world?  If so, what do they make you do?  I noticed that you were assigned the highlights from the Algeria-Egypt match in the African Cup of Nations.  Those names don’t quite roll off the tongue in English.

It`s tough trying to move between every nationality with proper pronunciation, especially when it`s happening within seconds!  I`m Italian and I speak a fair bit of Spanish so my natural inclination is to pronounce names with that mindset… those Algerian and Egyptian names can get awfully tricky!

I wouldn’t say there`s been “hazing.”  I mean not unless you would consider being blindfolded and shoved in the coat closet for 6 hours before your first show, hazing….   Just kidding, that didn’t actually happen!  Or did it……? [Ed. Note: I think the coat closet is where ESPN keeps its game announcers.]

What is your favorite part of your job?  Least favorite?

My favorite part is definitely delivering soccer news to people who have not heard the news yet.  To be the one who gets to inform viewers on their favorite teams and players is really neat. Unless of course it`s bad news… that`s never fun.

Least favorite part is having to watch and re-watch and script and edit and talk about my favorite team after they’ve lost.  No one wants to rehash their team’s bad game!

Have you always been into sports?  Did you play any sports growing up or currently?

Sports have always been a huge part of my life.  I played every sport under the sun growing up, but soccer was always my number one sport.  I played keeper on a very competitive team for a long, long time.  My brother, Paul, is the true athlete of the family though.  He played top tier soccer and was an amazing striker!  Now he’s a phenomenal golfer, and me and him hit the links together… when he’s in the mood to put on his coaching hat, that is.

Do you have a favorite soccer club and/or player?  If so, why that team/player?

People always give me flack for this… but I support both Chelsea and AC Milan.  [Ed. note: Rightfully so.] The fact is they haven’t played each other in real competition in over 10 years, so I’ve been pretty lucky so far.  I supported Chelsea way before the Abramovich days.  Gianfranco Zola was one of my favorites, along with Gianluca Vialli, the great player-coach.  When it comes to the Rossonieri, my love affair with them began when my favorite player Alessandro Nesta made his move there from Lazio.  I am such a fan of Nesta that I indeed switched teams because of him.  Yes, it’s like blasphemy, I know!  But, Lazio will always hold that special place in my heart.

You had to move to Winnipeg from Toronto to join the show.  How has the transition gone?

I miss home, but Winnipeg is slowly becoming my new home.  I’ve finally moved out of the hotel I’d been living in, which is great!  But my gosh… people weren’t lying about the cold and wind.  It`s freezing here!

If you aren’t working on the show, what are you doing?

Watching soccer!! Ha!  Other than that you can find me out-and-about doing all sorts of things.  I try to get to as many concerts and sporting events as I can.  I also spend a lot of time with my dog working on tricks and agility training!

Your co-host Terri Leigh is an avid curler and apparently she sings in a rock band sometimes.  Any chance you’ll be joining her on the stage?  Or on the ice?

Well I am a highly competitive Rock Band and Guitar Hero player, but I`ll leave the real rock’n’roll to Terri!  Curling, on the other hand, I’ve always wanted to try…. “Hurry!  Hard!”  Ha!  Why not?

When we interviewed Terri Leigh she didn’t have a Wikipedia page and now she does.  What would you want your page to say?

I love my pizza with lots of anchovies, but not cooked onto the pizza, put on afterwards.

UF's Foul Up banner.

What is the most memorable sporting event you have attended in person?

Well, I told you before that it had been over 10 years since Chelsea and Milan played each other in “real” competition, but they did play an exhibition game against each other in July of 2009 that I managed to attend!  I traveled all the way to Baltimore to see them play at M&T Bank Stadium, and yes, I know it was just an exhibition game, but it was awesome.  It was also the most gut-wrenching experience, because I felt so torn between my two favorite teams.  Both teams played about 60 minutes of great soccer and it was such a thrill.  Chelsea won 2 -1.  Seedorf scored for Milan and Drogba and Zhirkov for Chelsea.

Sticker Patrol!

[Ed. Note: We were there. The UF Foul Up. We even had this banner. And stickers! I hope she didn’t run into the late Bigus Dickus and E-Town Hooligan’s little boy who were the chief sticker culprits.]

Who is going to win the World Cup?

Italia!! Italia!!  Forza Azzurri!!

Greatest player ever: Pele or Maradona?

Oh my!  The never ending debate!  Both were obviously amazing players, but in my mind it’s Pele and I’ll tell you why.  Pele had the great ability to wait, and that’s what I think is his defining feature.  He didn’t rush his passing or hurry his play.  He could wait.  Everyone remembers Carlos Alberto’s 1970 World Cup goal, but for me the defining moment in the play that set-up the goal was Pele’s patience on the ball before passing it off.  It was perfect.

But, in my mind you can`t talk about the “greatest player” without mentioning Gianni Rivera, who also had the patience in his play and would explode with genius.  Silvio Piola, the goal scoring machine, who would score from every area of the field. Or Paolo Rossi, with his perfect timing!  I could go on forever… there are so many players that I think go unrecognized in the “greatest player” talk.  I love watching old, black and white match film to see all the genius that came before it`s time and redefined soccer.

Greatest Canadian comic?

FSR’s Derek Taylor, ha!  He`s hilarious.  But, other than him I’ve got to go with my fellow Toronto Maple Leafs fan Mike Myers…. Yeaaahhh Baaaabbbbyyy!

UF would like to thank Lara for playing along with our little game. We will be watching, like we always do. It’s what soccer addicts like us do.

About the Author

The Fan's Attic


  1. Norfolk Ned

    Id’ like to stick Tommy Smyth in that closet.

    Great interview. I’m glad she said Pele and not Mara..him. That would have lead to me boycotting FSR for at least a year.

  2. Georger

    Toronto Maple Leafs, losers since 1967.

  3. Anonymous

    being an Inter fan & arsenal fan, i guess we cant be friends.

  4. Orr

    I think I’m in love

  5. Keith

    Lazio to AC? Effing fascist.

  6. Orr

    Berlusconi has the Milan support trending towards the right, but I would hardly call them fascist. Milan have historically been favored by the more blue-collar fans, especially Southern transplants to the city.

  7. Keith

    Milan have historically been favored by the more blue-collar fans, especially Southern

    Sounds like the Republican Party since Nixon.

  8. hadley

    Lazio might be more aligned with Fascism. Anyway, Chelsea and AC Milan are preventing me from being completely in love.

  9. Orr

    True, but the South of Italy and the South of the United States are quite different

    At any rate, they’re no Lazio

  10. Keith

    Orr, why can we not have laughs at each other’s club’s expense?

  11. Orr

    @Keith – I am admittedly new to the message board game here. I didn’t see your post as an attack, and didn’t mean for mine to sound defensive. I’m not the best at reading the tone of these things, but I was rather enjoying our discussion nonetheless.

    You are more than welcome to have some laughs at my clubs. Liverpool is my other darling so you’ve all had a good go at them recently!

    Come World Cup time though I will defend the Azzurri like they defend a 1-0 lead. That’s right, I’m going catenaccio on your asses.

  12. hadley

    Catenaccio – ugh. Don’t get me started. There’s a reason everyone loves to watch Brasil and no one (who is neutral) likes to watch Italy.

  13. Orr

    There’s also a reason Italy has 4 titles

  14. Lennon's Eyebrow

    And a reason why Brazil has 5

  15. Orr

    Well played LE.

    For the record, I don’t endorse catenaccio. Of course I wish Italy played a different style sometimes, don’t we all wish this about our clubs and countries once in a while? I support the US also, and have hated their tactics for as long as I can remember.

    At the end of the day for me it’s about passion, which the Italians have buckets of.

  16. Ryan

    It will be kind of interesting to see North Korea play next summer, they boast of an extreme catenaccio style, but with much less quality in the squad.

  17. Orr

    @Ryan – Especially with the teams they play. It’ll be like watching those nature films where predators try to eat turtles.


  18. Barry

    …But now Brazil plays catenaccio to an even greater degree of effectiveness than Italy.

  19. jjf3

    Listening to, and seeing (2nd time), Lara tonight. Want to get married, Lara?? Beautiful, Italian background, and big soccer fan?
    I’ll gladly overlook the Spartak and Milan fandoms…I promise!

  20. Sanchez

    No Lara!
    marry me instead! i swear i’ll put my ill feelings towards your clubs aside. You can tell this chick knows her stuff, that she actually grew up watching the game and didnt just stumble across it…

  21. JH

    Not only does she like both of my favorite teams, but has an amazing soccer knowledge, great sports background, and an outgoing personality – beautiful! Lara is an incredible addition to FSR – and personally I only wish I had met years ago.

  22. Patrick Davison

    Just saw Lara for the first time on FSC today (24 feb 09) – impressed with her enthusiasm, her commentary, and her interplay with Terri. (Terri seems like a new person now that she’s not the only filly in the stable – great!)

    There’s also the sense that she actually likes the game.

    But no kudos to whoever’s doing her makeup. Too much rouge and lipstick – if we can see that you’re wearing makeup, it’s not working.

    Hope someone makes her wikipedia page soon. Someone tried in Sep 09 but it was removed by a wikipedia administrator as ‘she wasnt important enough’. Now that she’s a tv anchor, she should be.

  23. ArsenalToughGuy

    God, I wish we could see more of her!! I dont mind that shes excited and might stumble on her words from time to time, its not a speech competition, its entertainement!

  24. Crackrat

    Lara Baldesarra HAS GOT TO GO! She is absolutely horrible and I can barely watch FSR anymore. Her appointment is an insult to people who know the game, with her 10 mispronunciations each telecast. DER-bee. VEE-dich. did-E-ER Drogba. She knows nothing. NOTHING. So bad.

  25. ArsenalToughGuy

    Crackrat…i think your name best describes you…wait to go buddy, you should be proud of what your life turned out to be…creating websites with mispronounced names…sad, just sad

  26. Tony C

    No kidding, thats sad bro…
    Shes not great but Lara Baldesarra actually makes Fox Soccer Report pretty damn exciting if you ask me, at least she seems excited about the games every night when its a s**tty league like League 2…

  27. abi

    oh i always love watching this beautiful anchor delivers soccer news to us, it’s great she cheers for Azzurri! her enthusiasum and interesging knowledge with that sexy dialuge got best package of enjoying all our passion for soccer. such likely background, highly rated sportcaster and persistent soccer fan had seen in her. Lara we have distinction of common with each other, wish i could marry you~~~

  28. el argentino

    ok, ok i’ve held my tounge for long enough…lara balsdznuts f’n sucks…after the do over last night i had to say something…not only does she say most of the player names wrong she also gives false information…but i laughed my ass off seeing her try to read off of a script when her prompter died…and then it all went “GLOBAL CALGARY” HAHAHA!!!

  29. Lara is the worst ever

    Oh my god, the show has definitely gone down hill since lara got there. does she have an inside connection, how did she get this job? i may have miss heard, but did she said that only two teams have ever won a treble, liverpool and bayern?!? call me crazy, but didn’t barca win everything put in front of them last year. that’s more than a treble. not to mention man u in 1999. I hate her so much. why can’t they keep the same people night in and night out? jeremy and derek at the desk, terri on the side and bobby on mondays and fridays. truth be told i could listen to bobby talk about football all day long, he should be on every night. but yeah, she mispronounces even the easiest of names. she is italian and yet she messes up italian names the most it seems. i am a serie a fan so i notice those more than others. her accent is really annoying too. i don’t even watch if shes on anymore, you can get the same information online. i usually end up going online anyways after the show to confirm my suspicions that she’s given false information. WOW! that felt good, i have wanted to vent my frustrations about her for so long.


  30. Jozy Altidore

    Lare is brilliant !! Haters should look at the people beside her, not any better. Baldesarra is the king of that show! Def my fave host on FSR !

  31. Anonymous

    Enough of her!!! She just horrible. She should stop batting her eyelids so she can read better!! She’s just an embarassment. So self conscious, trying too hard and so unprofessional!!!!Notice all the good comments are about her looks not her skills!

  32. Anonymous

    PLEASE get rid of Lara. I am so tired of lowering the volume whenever she comes on.

  33. por

    Lara is absolutely horrible as a sportscaster!

  34. Navarro

    lara baldesarra knows her stuff. The other idiots dont know squat!! Lara is the best on the show HANDS DOWN !!

  35. Anonymous

    she looks like snooki with her hairstyle last night…she really is horrible..we turn to another channel when she’s on..

  36. Anonymous


  37. Anonymous

    STOP waving your arms and pointing your finger. Just HORRIBL AND UNPROFESSIONAL. GET HER OFF THE SHOW, PLEASE!

  38. DB

    I am not sure why there are so many attacks on Lara. How many dufus sportcasters has ESPN had (a ton for sure) and yet they keep on picking loser after loser on that network. Lara is refreshing and does a great job! I don’t really expect her to be a soccer know-all guru. I do expect that she will provide some wit and humor and all the days action on the many pitches worldwide. She does do that and does it well. I am sure it doesn’t hurt that she is easy on the eyes, but I doubt any haters will find any other female sportscaster anywhere as knowledgeable and as passionate about soccer as she has.
    I just watched FSR twice tonight and enjoyed how she can make even dull preseason highlights sound interesting.

    Keep up the great work Lara!
    Haters–go hide back under the bridges you came out from under!!

    Dallas, Texas

  39. por

    For those who were defending her well there you go….There is a reason why she’s off FSR, Finally. She sucked!!

  40. Danny

    What a wonderful woman!

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