Soccer (M)

Men's Soccer Coach Jaime Moreno is the Spanish Play-by-Play for the Carolina Panthers

by Justin Parker - Lake Norman Citizen


Mick Mixon isn't the only play-by-play announcer for the Carolina Panthers.

Huntersville's Jaime Moreno calls the action on the radio, too. He just does it in Spanish.

A 20-year resident of north Mecklenburg, Moreno is in his fifth season calling the Panthers' action on a seven-station U.S. network, XM Satellite Radio, NFL in Español and into Mexico City. He calls the games with his nephew, Luis Moreno Jr., a former running back at Charlotte Catholic, and fans can tune in locally to 102.3 FM to hear the Morenos put a Spanish twist on an American sport.

"We don't want it to be part of a routine," says Moreno, a father of three. "We always try to bring new excitement."

Even if you don't speak Spanish, the passion in Moreno's voice lets you know the "Panteras de Carolina" or "furia felinas" are making something happen. One of Moreno's trademarks is voicing a bell-ringing sound when the Panthers reach the red zone.

Admittedly, there's a soccer influence to the football broadcast, as the Morenos cater to their audience. Moreno is  also an assistant soccer coach at Catawba College.

"We put a little flavor of everything," he says.

When Cam Newton rockets a pass downfield, Moreno may say, "Ese balón llevaba fuego en las puntas," or "That ball had fire in its tips." You may hear "electrizante" (electrifying) or "es el grande" (it's big) to describe plays. Touchdown is simply, touchdown.

Moreno grew up in Mexico City, earned a football scholarship to the University of Mexico and was playing fullback until a starter on the defensive line was injured. The coaches put Moreno in at defensive tackle, where he learned on the fly.

"I didn't know how to play defense," says Moreno. "I just knew to get to the quarterback, and the first play, I made a sack."

Moreno moved to Huntersville in 1994 and soon began covering the Panthers for a Spanish newspaper and radio station. By 2002, he was having conversations with the Panthers about broadcasting the games, and in 2010, it all came together.

Now the Panthers are one of four franchises (also Dallas, Arizona and Pittsburgh) broadcasting into Mexico City.

The Morenos take pride in their work and enjoy bringing the games to the Spanish-speaking fans.

"We want to be very creative," says Moreno. "We don't want to sound the same every week."


Moreno on the call
Jaime Moreno's call of Jonathan Stewart's 69-yard touchdown run against New Orleans on Dec. 7:
"Ed Dickson en movimiento. Ahora es movimiento de Jerricho Cotchery, de izquierda a derecha. Cam le entrega el balón a Jonathan Stewart que rompe por afuera. A al cincuenta, a la cuarenta, a la treinta, a la veinte, a la diez, a la cinco, quatro, tres, dos ... touchdown! Touchdown! Jonathan Stewart ... bailale, bailale! Las Panteras ya suman séis puntos más en el marcador!"

"Ed Dickson is in motion. Now is Jerricho Cotchery in motion from left to right. Cam hands off the ball to Jonathan Stewart and Stewart breaks out to the 50, to the 40, to the 30, to the 20, to the 10, to the 5, 4, 3, 2 ... touchdown! Touchdown! Jonathan Stewart ... dance it off, dance it off! The Panthers add six more points to the scoreboard!"

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