Despite not having a player in the 2018 World Cup, the New England Revolution have a wealth of international experience. Former U.S. goalkeeper Brad Friedel is in his first season as Revs’ head coach.
And in the television booth, New England fans are treated each week to the Lancashire accent of Paul Mariner. The former Revs assistant coach now partners with Brad Feldman to call the team’s games. Though many fans may not know it, Mariner’s story is connected to some of the highest levels of world soccer.
On top of helping provincial English club Ipswich Town shock the soccer world by winning the 1981 UEFA Cup, Mariner was also part of England’s 1982 World Cup team.
In a recent interview with Boston.com, Mariner explained what it was like playing for England:
It doesn’t matter whether it’s international football or club football, you’re under massive pressure. You’re under the spotlight every single moment of the day. Obviously in 1982 when I went to Spain, they didn’t have the glare and spotlight of social media, so the boys are really even more under the microscope now. As an English player, you’re always expected to do very, very well.
Mariner helped England defeat France in the team’s opening game, 3-1. He scored the third goal on a close-range volley:
As someone who now lives in the United States, Mariner says his passion for England in an international tournament hasn’t waned.
“It hasn’t changed,” he explained. “The thing is the States are a melting pot, particularly in Boston, we’re surrounded by Irish and English and people from all over the world. So the feeling you get about the World Cup never goes away.”