Derek Rae

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Derek Rae (born 1967[1]) is a Scottish association football commentator for ESPN in the US and current commentator for BT Sport.

Early life and education[edit]

Rae grew up in Aberdeen, Scotland. During his youth he attended football matches with a tape recorder to work on his commentary. At the age of 15 he began his professional broadcasting career calling games for a radio station that broadcast to local hospitals. In 1986, BBC Radio Scotland announcer David Francey suffered a knee injury and Rae, a 19-year-old student at the University of Aberdeen who had sent the BBC a copy of his radio work, substituted for him on the call of a Scottish Premier Division game between Kilmarnock F.C. and Dumbarton F.C..[2] The network was impressed and hired Rae to call the Rous Cup match between rivals England and Scotland the following week.[3] The BBC then hired him as its Scotland football correspondent, a job he held for five years. Rae was the 1987 British Sports Broadcaster of the Year.[4]


Rae moved to the United States in anticipation of the 1994 FIFA World Cup. FIFA hired him as a press officer and he oversaw the World Cup games that were held at Foxboro Stadium. Rae met his wife Beth Powers while working on World Cup preparations and the two would later settle in Beverly, Massachusetts.[4]

Rae called Major League Soccer games for the New England Revolution from 1996 to 1999 and again in 2001, for the MetroStars in 2000 and the Los Angeles Galaxy in 1996.[4]

After the World Cup, Rae joined ESPN International, where he called Eredivisie and Campeonato Brasileiro Série A games. His role later expanded to calling more than 150 games a year and hosting a weekly studio-based soccer discussion show, PressPass.[4] He also writes a column called "Rae's Say" for ESPNsoccernet.

Rae is fluent in German and speaks several other languages partially. Rae has been known to call consulates to confirm that he has the correct pronunciation of a player's name.[4]

In August 2009, Rae began splitting his time between the States and Scotland after being hired as lead commentator for Scottish Premier League matches on the UK version of ESPN.[5]

In June 2010, he was in South Africa to commentate on 12 matches at the 2010 FIFA World Cup finals for ESPN USA partnered by Robbie Mustoe and Ally McCoist. In the summer of 2010 it was announced that Rae would be making the move back to the UK to continue commentating on a wider basis for ESPN's London-based channel.

In July 2013, Rae was confirmed as one of the lead voices on the new BT Sport channels. He commentated every week on the SPFL as well as the Europa League, Bundesliga and Ligue 1.

Rae served as a match commentator for ESPN USA's coverage of the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil, and UEFA Euro 2016 in France.[6]

In 2017 he announced that he was to leave BT Sport and would return to the states to work for ESPN.[7][8][9] Rae also calls selected Premier League matches and has been a studio host for NBCSN.


  1. ^ " Local Search – Boston Globe Archives". 
  2. ^ Webster, Jack (28 April 1986). "Three of a kind". The Glasgow Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  3. ^ Broadfoot, Darryl (28 July 2009). "Rae ready to make another transatlantic crossing". The Herald. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  4. ^ a b c d e Gasper, Christopher L. (23 June 2005). "Great Scot: Rae on top of world". The Boston Globe. 
  5. ^ Mahoney, Ridge (25 September 2009). "Backline: ESPN's Derek Rae blazes new trail". SoccerAmerica. Retrieved 12 June 2012. 
  6. ^ "ESPN Play-by-Play Commentators for 2014 FIFA World Cup". Retrieved 2 June 2014. 
  7. ^ "Derek Rae to quit commentating on Scottish football". Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  8. ^ Harris, Christopher (2017-05-04). "Commentator Derek Rae announces return to United States". World Soccer Talk. Retrieved 2017-05-05. 
  9. ^ "BT Sport commentator Derek Rae set to quit Scottish football". The Scottish Sun. 2017-05-04. Retrieved 2017-05-05.