Birth of a Legend

He’s called well over a thousand games for the Huskies and long ago became a local broadcasting institution. But it may come as a surprise that Bob Rondeau cut his teeth on play-calling as the voice of the Sounders.

That’s right, before he first exclaimed “Touchdown, Washington!” came shouts of  “Goooooooal, Sounders!”

Bob Rondeau has been the voice of Husky football since 1980 and UW men’s basketball since 1985. Courtesy UW Athletics.

Back in 1979, when KOMO AM-1000 added soccer to its stable of UW football and basketball, Rondeau stepped up to the mic with no experience in play-by-play and admittedly little knowledge of the game.

“I knew less than nothing about soccer,” says Rondeau. “I didn’t know a soccer ball from a cue ball.”

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A First & Lasting Impression

Whereas the next announcer will follow in some formidable footprints, for the original voice of the Sounders there simply was no trail. Bob Robertson blazed it himself.

Robertson, seen here in 1980, was a one-man crew in the booth. He called the original Sounders on radio and TV for eight of the 10 seasons.

“Up until (1974), as far as we knew, no one had broadcast soccer in America on a full-time basis,” remembers Robertson. “It hadn’t been done, other than a championship game in a small market. So we were pioneering.”

Robertson more than just broke ground. Already an established, respected pro, he helped grow the game’s audience and crowds with his rapid-fire, no-nonsense delivery, and he did so in a much more challenging environment that exists today. Robertson not only was the first, his tenure surpasses all followers, and he helped create a Sounders staple that thrives to this very day.

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