Crispin Roberts stands next to the statue of Bill Shankly outside Liverpool’s soccer stadium. (Provided photo)

Crispin Roberts stands next to the statue of Bill Shankly outside Liverpool’s soccer stadium. (Provided photo)

Perfect pitch: Roberts lends voice to South Whidbey soccer matches

Crispin Roberts’ gift of gab helped land him the gig as the public address announcer at South Whidbey High School soccer matches.

Six years ago when Roberts’ son Lochlan was a sophomore on the Falcon team, Roberts said he would give a running commentary of the matches from the sideline.

When the regular announcer was unable to attend a home match because of an illness, Roberts recalls one of the other players saying, “They should give the microphone to Crispin because he can’t keep his mouth shut.”

They took the player’s advice and Roberts hasn’t stopped talking and entertaining since.

He was soon asked to announce the girls soccer matches as well.

“I will do it as long as people enjoy it and I get a positive response,” Roberts said. “I try to make it educational in a way that is fun for the fans.”

Roberts’ knowledge of the game, sense of humor and accent (he grew up in Scotland) sets him apart from most high school announcers.

Former South Whidbey High School boys soccer coach Emerson Robbins, who was coaching when Roberts took over behind the microphone, calls Roberts “the best high school soccer announcer anywhere.”

Robbins said he encouraged Roberts to send audio tapes to the Seattle Sounders.

“I think he could actually do so professionally if he pursued it,” Robbins said. “I don’t think he really understands how great an announcer he is. I listen and watch a ton of games and I always feel he could call the game better than 90 percent of the announcers I hear.”

Robbins likes how Roberts makes the game exciting for everyone.

Roberts’ enthusiasm and previously unheard comments like “that was illuminating, it was like throwing a hair dryer into the bathtub” make him one of a kind, according to Robbins.

“He is truly a lovable character,” Robbins added. “I coached soccer for over 35 years, and I don’t know if I’ve ever met anyone in all those years who has more love and passion for the beautiful game than Crispin does.”

While growing up in Scotland, Roberts preferred rugby over soccer. When he moved at 17 to North Carolina with his family in 1976, he came to the United States “reluctantly.”

“Now I am so glad we did,” he said.

Once in the states, he played soccer for a year while looking for a rugby program.

When family members started moving to the Northwest from North Carolina, Roberts eventually followed in 1984.

He settled on South Whidbey 16 years ago and runs an upholstery shop out of his garage.

“I’ve always been in the furniture business,” he said.

He earned a business degree from High Point University, which is in High Point, N.C., the self proclaimed “Furniture Capital of the World.”

Roberts had a passion to play rugby but has always been a soccer fan. He still follows his favorite Premier League club, Liverpool.

The Reds were on the verge of capturing their first title in 30 years when the season was interrupted, much to Roberts’ chagrin, because of the coronavirus.

Roberts got into coaching soccer when his children Bonnie, Fiona and Lochlan played in youth leagues. He later assisted Robbins with the high school program.

That morphed into a seat in the press box behind the microphone.

“I love watching the kids play,” he said.

And they love hearing him talk.

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