Gus Johnson steps down as FOX Sports' lead soccer broadcaster

2:41 PM

Gus Johnson is bowing out of FOX Sports' soccer broadcasts, and there will surely be some who hope that Eric Wynalda follows suit.

Citing an inability to give soccer the attention it deserves due to a busy college sports schedule, Johnson has stepped down from his post as FOX Sports' No. 1 soccer broadcaster.

"I think that it was a mutual decision, but maybe I was the guy who came to it first," Johnson told Sports Illustrated on Sunday.

Johnson, who sat down with FOX Sports president Eric Shanks last week to discuss the matter, also said that the loss of his mother to cancer was particularly influential in his decision to be removed from the company's soccer coverage.

"I asked her if she wanted me to come home and she said, 'No. You are a Johnson man and your job is to work,' " Johnson said. "I finished the game, got back home, and she was pretty much unconscious at that point because she had Stage Four ovarian cancer. 

"I never got the chance to talk to her again because the cancer was eating her up. I think I'm still in the process of healing. My mother was the most important person in my life. She is the one who gave me my love for sports and communications."

Another reason Johnson is stepping down is that he recently got engaged and will wed next August.

"I want to hang out with my wife and that is where I'm at," Johnson said. "I don't wan't to be exhausted, tired and unprepared. What I realized about calling soccer and especially international soccer, I needed to do 35-40 games just to get my bars up and my chops going. 

"Because of my schedule, I never had a chance to get that kind of experience and work in. I always felt like I was cramming, and I don't think that's a good thing. If I am the best I can be, I did not think it was something I should continue to do."

Had Johnson stayed aboard, he would have worked on FOX Sports' coverage of the 2015 Women's World Cup.

Feature photo courtesy of Getty/Andrew Toth