Sporting Kansas City today announced the club’s broadcast team for the 2017 season on FOX Sports Kansas City. Nate Bukaty returns as the play-by-play commentator, while Sporting KC welcomes Matt Lawrence as a color analyst and new broadcast host and sideline reporter Jillian Carroll.
Lawrence spent nine years playing in the English Football League Championship during a 20-year playing career. Born in Northampton, England, Lawrence attended and played soccer at Hartwick College in Oneonta, New York before returning home to join Grays Athletic of the Isthmian League in 1995.
He moved to League One side Wycombe Wanderers FC in 1996 and earned a transfer to Fulham FC the following season, making 60 appearances for the West London side before returning to Wycombe in 1998. Lawrence made 63 appearances, adding four goals for Wycombe between 1998 and 2000 and was transferred back to London, this time to Millwall FC.
Lawrence and Millwall won promotion to the EFL Championship as League One champions in his first season with the club. He spent six years with Millwall, making 228 appearances – including 183 in the Championship.
In 2004, Lawrence captained Millwall to their first FA Cup Final in club history. As only the second team outside the Premier League to reach the final since 1982, the Lions came up against Manchester United on May 22, 2004, falling 3-0 following a first-half goal from Cristiano Ronaldo and a brace in the second half from Ruud van Nistelrooy.
Millwall qualified for the 2004-05 UEFA Cup through their FA Cup Final appearance, with Lawrence playing every minute as his side was eliminated in the first round over two legs by Hungarian champions Ferencvaros.
Following the 2005-06 season, Lawrence moved eight miles south to join Crystal Palace FC, where he made 134 appearances in all competitions. At the conclusion of the 2009-10 season, Lawrence’s contract with the Eagles expired and he enjoyed stints with Gillingham FC and Whitehawk FC in the latter stages of his career.
Lawrence spent 2016 as a color analyst for Sky Sports’ coverage of Major League Soccer and has previously written a regular column for UK-based newspaper, the Daily Mirror.
“I’m very much looking forward to getting started at Sporting KC two decades after leaving the U.S. having graduated from Hartwick College,” Lawrence said. “I was lucky enough to play a lengthy professional soccer in England. After touring the facilities in Kansas City I know the infrastructure is in place for an exciting 2017 season, and I’m excited to play a role in that.”
Carroll has stayed local for her professional career, spending time as a sideline reporter for the Kansas City Chiefs, FC Kansas City and the Kansas City Comets.
Born in New York and raised in Kansas City, Carroll played college soccer at the University of Northern Iowa before working toward a master’s degree from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. As a youth player, Carroll spent time in the Olympic Development Program in Kansas while playing soccer at St. Thomas Aquinas High School in Overland Park.
Since graduating from Northern Iowa, Carroll has spent eight years coaching youth soccer in Kansas City, and has coached the Kansas Olympic Development Program for one year. Carroll currently holds a U.S. Soccer Federation E License.
In her role with the Kansas City Chiefs, Carroll worked with the NFL Play 60 youth outreach program and also served as a Community Correspondent to help promote the club throughout the city. Carroll won an Emmy Award in 2015 for her “Chiefs Cheerleader Calendar Special” piece.
“I'm thrilled to join Sporting KC and continue growing the game I love,” Carroll said. “I'm passionately invested in this game, and admire the growth Sporting KC has encouraged over the past several years. I'm honored to have the opportunity to be a part of Sporting KC as the Broadcast Host and Club Ambassador, it's a dream come true.”
Bukaty returns for his third season as the voice of Sporting KC, having begun calling games for the club in 2015. Bukaty has co-hosted The Border Patrol on Sports Radio 810 WHB since 2007, and continues to do so in conjunction to his role with Sporting KC.
A 1998 graduate of the University of Kansas, Bukaty has worked with KU athletics extensively in the past, including roles with the Kansas women’s basketball team and the Kansas football team.