John Harkes, the former D.C. United and U.S. national team captain who was ESPN’s color commentator at the past two World Cups, will serve in the same capacity for Comcast SportsNet’s match coverage of the MLS club this season, the Insider has learned.
Harkes, who was let go by ESPN last fall, will replace Thomas Rongen, who has taken a full-time position overseeing Toronto FC’s youth academy. Harkes, who has had a home in Northern Virginia since 1996, will reunite with longtime play-by-play man Dave Johnson — the pair worked together at Comcast after Harkes retired in 2003.
Harkes, a former University of Virginia star, was instrumental in United’s early success in MLS — 1996 and ‘97 league championships and a runner-up finish the following year — before being traded to the New England Revolution.
United is in the process of finalizing its local TV package with CSN, with an announcement possible this week. Initially, the Insider has learned, the club will unveil around 15 TV matches and add three or four others once CSN programming and scheduling issues are resolved. Between CSN and national coverage on ESPN and NBC Sports Network, all but three or four of United’s 34 regular season matches are expected to be televised.