Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl is reporting that Philadelphia Union color commentator Taylor Twellman is set to be promoted to lead ESPN soccer analyst, as John Harkes will not have his contract renewed with the company.
Harkes has long been a target of criticism from US Soccer fans for what has been seen as a career spent interjecting himself into story lines and less than stellar analysis on air. The US Soccer Hall of Famer, who officially retired from professional soccer in 2003, has been an analyst with ESPN in some capacity since 2006.
The new opening gives Twellman, who was forced out of professional play in 2010 due to symptoms related to multiple concussions he suffered, the opportunity to be ESPN's lead in-game analyst, working alongside current play-by-play announcer Ian Darke. Twellman has spent the last year and a half working various broadcasting jobs to hone his on-TV skills, including this past season as in-game analyst with Union play-by-play man JP Dellacamera, who is set to stay with the Union and Fox Soccer Channel, also according to Wahl.
The Brotherly Game has contacted Twellman about the promotion's potential to affect his work with the Union, but the former New England Revolution great has not yet responded.