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Team Player: Jon Champion and Paulo Silva

Ahead of MLS Cup Saturday on ABC, play-by-play commentator Jon Champion sings the praises of senior production coordinator - and former UConn player - Paulo Silva and ESPN's entire soccer squad

Paulo Silva

EDITOR’S NOTE: Welcome to the latest installment of Front Row’s “Team Player” series, where an ESPN on-air commentator selects a behind-the-scenes colleague to spotlight.

Paulo Silva is not new to soccer – a sport that creates “Team Players.” 

A former student-athlete at the University of Connecticut, the ESPN senior production coordinator was a defender on legendary coach Ray Reid’s UConn Huskies soccer team as a junior in 2005. 


After joining ESPN in 2008 and working on the company’s award-winning and critically acclaimed soccer production team since 2015, Silva has found lessons of being a great teammate applicable to his role.


“All coordinators, like me, work exceptionally hard to make the jobs of our talent – commentators, hosts, analysts, and reporters – seamless,” said Silva. “I like to think we are their behind-the-scenes, one-stop-shop for all the questions, concerns, scheduling, travel, and logistical needs they have.”


ESPN soccer play-by-play commentator Jon Champion agrees. Ahead of Saturday’s 2021 MLS Cup broadcast, Champion picks Silva as his “Team Player.” 

He sings the praises of Silva and the entire ESPN MLS production team in the video above.

The 2021 MLS Cup presented by Audi on ABC, Saturday at 3 p.m. ET  – Portland Timbers host New York City FC – will culminate a long Major League Soccer season that began in the throes of coronavirus.

Silva helped the commentators navigate the season from voicing matches in Bristol, Conn., studios to calling games from match sites.   

Silva’s thoughts on working with ESPN soccer public-facing commentators:

“I love these guys. They are not just coworkers but also distinguished professionals I consider myself having the honor to work with the past few years. They are true professionals who have the hard work ethic and work harder to bring our soccer coverage and the sport to the highest level.”

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