Julie Stewart-Binks will debut as the host of the brand-new FOX Soccer Daily on Aug. 19. A seasoned broadcaster, Stewart-Binks brings with her a lifetime love of sport and an international perspective to the game. FOX Soccer met Stewart-Binks for a quick chat about her new role, her goals and how she fell in love with the beautiful game:
FOX Soccer : You grew up in sport, as a competitive figure-skater and sprinter, right?
Julie Stewart-Binks : That's right, and I played soccer in high school as well! But I was a very competitive skater and then a sprinter for my university, and to this day, I still play hockey, usually as a right-winger. Being Canadian, it's hard not to! I am a big Maple Leafs fan as well, and I was lucky to grow up in the era when they were in the playoffs, with Wendel Clark, Doug Gilmour and Felix Potvin. Unfortunately, it was a rough run for them after that until this year.
FOX Soccer : And then you went overseas for your masters, and that's when you really got into soccer hardcore, right?
Stewart-Binks : Yeah! I was at City University in London, right near the Emirates. I had always been a fan of the Premier League , but being around there every weekend really brought it home for me. Every Saturday and Sunday you saw the city shut down - the people were in the pubs and the streets, and the atmosphere was so electric. It's really unlike anything I've ever seen, and I just fell in love with it.
FOX Soccer : An Arsenal fan for life!
Stewart-Binks : (Laughs.) Well, I do support Arsenal, yes. But I really happen to like a lot of players and managers and tend to follow a lot of teams. I think that's because my own family followed Manchester United from up in Scotland, because they had a Scottish manager. Not many Arsenal fans would admit they admired Harry Redknapp for what he did at Tottenham - or even that they like Frank Lampard! - but I do. I'm a big supporter of the English national team now along with my home country, and I really look at it as a love of great players and great teams.
FOX Soccer : And that was partly because of university as well, right?
Stewart-Binks : Yeah, I was also very lucky to have classmates from countries all around the world - Argentina, Gaza, Siberia - and soccer was our common thread. In season we'd all gather around and watch games from everywhere, and argue during the qualifiers! I actually went to see England play Egypt, and sat in the Egypt section with a bunch of my friends, and it was just fantastic, one of the best memories of my time there.
FOX Soccer : What do you say to the people who say, "well, she knows sports - but what does she know about soccer?"
Stewart-Binks : That's a great question. I'm a fan first and foremost. I love the game, and if I can help other people fall in love with the game, then I've accomplished a great deal. My goal is to become an authority in the sport and I am working with some of the best in the business -- Eric Wynalda, Warren Barton and Brian McBride - to help get me there!
FOX Soccer : Who did you draw inspiration from when you decided to get into broadcasting?
Stewart-Binks : I'd have to say Ron MacLean, on Hockey Night in Canada. How he works with Don Cherry and makes sure everything is balanced and exciting and fun really makes him in many ways a perfect host.
But I was also very lucky to work at Sky with Georgie Thompson, who's going to be on our show, and that taught me so much. I was just an intern there, but she was so inspiring - it's just great to be able to work with her now!
FOX Soccer : Where do you want to be in a few years?
Stewart-Binks : Honestly, I want to be an insider. I want to work and be the credible source for sports information. I love my blonde hair, and I love being a girl, but I know sometimes people get the wrong impression. I want to help change that. Again, it's going to be a long process, but I want to show that I can be out there with all the guys. It's going to take a lot of work, but I am dedicated to it.
FOX Soccer : And finally, what can we all expect on Aug. 19?
Stewart-Binks : I'm sworn to secrecy on a lot of things, but I can tell you this: it's very exciting, and when people see us launch FOX Soccer Daily, I think they are going to be blown away. This is one of the best experiences I've had in my career, and when the fans see what we have planned for them I think they are going to be very impressed!