Q&A with Brittany Arnold

Brittany Arnold with star Atlanta United player Miguel Almiron

In the 21st century, sports journalism, either by digital or on a television screen has been fundamental into getting the news from all around the world and have those who cover the sport of soccer talk about it in a remarkable and eye-catching way.

For various Paraguayans out there, the signing of Miguel Almiron to Atlanta United as well as the incorporation of former Cerro Porteño, Libertad and national team Gerardo “El Tata Martino” brought some sort of surprise by a lot of Paraguayans despite the remarkable season that the midfielder had at Lanus.

Nevertheless, Atlanta United are flying high in Major League Soccer and under the helm of El Tata and the immense influence of Miguel Almiron, critics across the nation became followers of “Miggy”, one of the nicknames given by the fans from the state in the Southeast of the United States. This is the story of Brittany Arnold, sideline reporter for the expansion club in MLS, Host of Atlanta United Match Week on Fox Sports SouthEast and former presenter of beIN Sports USA. We would like to thank Brittany for given her time for this interview as she speaks about her beginnings, her time in Miami with beIN Sports, her new job working at Atlanta and of course her love of the sport with some amazing stories!

Brittany during her stint at beIN Sports in Miami.

1. How did your love of soccer started that led to Atlanta United after many years working for beIN Sports in Miami? Did that play an influence in joining the club?

Brittany: Ironically, many fans may think that I grew up playing soccer or I constantly struggled in choosing between rivalry clubs my whole life- but my story did not begin that way. Soccer was always a sport that I watched once in awhile- cup tournaments or UEFA Champions League action, but I really became invested in the sport after college. My cousin played professionally both in Germany and the U.S and when I moved back to Miami after graduation he connected me with Phil Schoen (my former colleague at BEIN Sports) and little did I know I was about to embark on a journey that would change the course of my career.

Following graduation I started working at BEIN and I quickly began picking apart the brains of all the soccer genius around me- and before I knew it- offsides, hat-tricks and penalties were all part of my everyday vocabulary. From that moment on- soccer has become a significant part of my life and understanding the game is what truly makes it so beautiful. I couldn’t image my life without it now.

My experience at BEIN is part of what led me to my job with Atlanta United- I was ready to make a move and having covered La Liga, Serie A, Ligue 1, Championship and international friendlies for nearly five years, the thought of being able to cover a new league in MLS seemed like an exciting opportunity for me and I was ready to embark on a new journey in soccer.

2. How has the club been treating you since you arrived and how’s the vibe been since their debut season in MLS?

Brittany: Atlanta United is a first class operation. From the top to the bottom- everyone is kind and hard working and the organization truly did a great job in putting a promising group together. I have been treated with the utmost respect and it was a seamless transition from Miami to Atlanta because of the exceptional group I work alongside.

The vibe has been amazing. An expansion club in MLS having the type of start to the season that we have had- how can we not be on Cloud 9! We are surrounded by a ground of unbelievably talented players that are so young- other so experienced- and the combination is lethal in this league. We have really exceeded expectations with the performance of our squad.

3. Working as a sideline reporter, what are some of the things you look into during a game and prepare for during broadcasts, and to ask the coach Tata Martino or any of the players?

Brittany: As a sideline reporter in game- my job is to be the eyes and ears for my broadcast team and the fans. I have to do my best to get the inside scoop from the match and let everyone watching know things that they cannot see from the TV. But that is not my only responsibility. I have the host of a pre and post game show for our broadcasts which keeps me very busy! I am constantly covering the team and digging for story lines to give the best access to Atlanta United that I can.

Brittany with “El Tata” Martino.

As for interviewing players and Tata Martino- that is all depending on the performance of the game. I do not prepare those questions ahead of time- I ask Tata something relevant to the match result and the same with the players; i always try to interview them based on something significant that may have happened- or maybe did not happen!

4. Do you feel that the success of this team is based on Tata coming to the squad and implementing a training regimen/schedule being more “Argentinian” or European or the new players coming in from South America and the rest of the world?

Brittany: I think it’s a combination of both. Tata Martino has an incredible amount of experience ( i remember covering him during his time with Barca & Arg) and the knowledge that he has is irrefutable. He was an unbelievable asset to bring here not only to Atlanta United but to MLS. It is the start of accepting a different style of play and proving that not only European teams can play this type of soccer.

And, of course having a number of talented players come from South America is a big part of the success. Miguel Almiron, Josef Martinez, Tito Villalba- these guys are combining for nearly all the goals scored this season. So when you have young talent scoring the amount of goals they are- it's hard not to want or expect success from the club. And having the entire operation led by Tata- well that is the icing on the cake!

5. Any anecdotes or funny stories that happened at your time there?

Brittany: I have had a ton of great memories traveling with the team and spending days at the training facility- it is hard to pinpoint one memory. But I will saying when I do my facebook lives with the players- that is probably the most fun because you are getting to really see their personality on a less formal stage and that is always great for the fans.

These guys have big personalities and are pretty funny on the regular- so it makes my job very easy to cover them!

6. How is Tata Martino like with his players and the fans and of course with those working in the club as a person and also as a manager?

Brittany: Tata Martino is the most humble manager I have met. When Atlanta United step on that pitch it is all business- both on the pitch and from the sidelines. Tata Martino is disciplined and that is emulated on the pitch by Atlanta United. As a person he is the nicest man- always greeting everyone and very personable.

I think Tata has the same reaction to the fans as the players do- it's overwhelming. If you haven’t experienced a match at Bobby Dodd you cannot understand from photos and videos alone. The acceptance has been incredible in Atlanta and both Tata and the players feel that and they always make time for the fans because they appreciate the response they are receiving.

Tata is truly a remarkable manager and individual and I am humbled and honored to be covering him and Atlanta United. Every match interview I do with him- I never take for granted.

7. What are your thoughts on the Paraguayan sensation Miguel Almiron so far this season for yourself, the fans’ take and on what Tata Martino has said about him?

Brittany: Miguel Almiron has taken this city by storm. I think his personality has a lot to do with that. We can see from his performance on the pitch that he is a gifted player- a talent that will go very far in his career and an exciting display to watch in this league. There is no doubt in my mind we will hear about Almiron for years to come ( we hope it's with Atlanta United). For me, Almiron’s first quality that couldn’t go unnoticed was his speed. From the moment his foot touches the ball — its blur from then until inside the box. Also his knowledge in creating plays and anticipating passes sets him on a high level for such a young player.

Brittany interviewing Miguel Almiron.

But aside from his skill set on the pitch- Miguel has an amazing personality that never changes. He is all smiles all the time and the fans love him because of that. Of course the fact that he is exciting to watch doesn’t hurt- but the “thumbs up and smile” Almiron is what makes him lovable on and off the pitch. Miggy is the man here in Atlanta- there is no denying that!

Of course Tata Martino knows the talent that he has under him and we know that the exceptional performances we see now are only the beginning from these young players.

8. Finally, how long before we see Almiron in Europe if he keeps us this rate of performances for Atlanta?

Brittany: Like I said before, Almiron has a promising career ahead of him. Selfishly I hope he remains with Atlanta United as long as we can have him but his talent will not go unnoticed. And there is nothing we can do about that. It's the nature of the business.

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