USA In SA: Exclusive Q&A With Commentator Gary Taphouse, Part 1

Commentator Gary Taphouse with his thoughts on the problems with the first few days of matches, why the World Cup will improve, and being a "football expert" at the Bud House.

Gary Taphouse finds himself in an unusual location during the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Instead of commentating on matches, he's holed up two hours outside of Cape Town. Well, perhaps "holed up" isn't the correct phrase. "Living in paradise" might work better. The man from Surrey whose voice can be heard frequently on Sky Sports is working at Bud House, an ambitious effort from the beer company that brings 32 fans -- one from each team contesting the world's largest sporting event -- into one (very nice) pad. They live together, eat together, and, most importantly, watch football together. Taphouse ensures the contestants understand the ins and outs of the beautiful game.

How did you end up here?

I was contacted to see if I was available during the World Cup as a "football expert," not my phrase. Obviously, there are a lot of guys working on the production who have worked in reality TV but never in this sport. They wanted to make sure that they are on the right lines in terms of the football side of it. Ultimately, the reason the cast members are here is to watch the World Cup. All the other stuff, the excursions, are great, but they want to watch the games. When it comes to editing and the whole process, the producers wanted to make sure they are on the right lines. I was happy to provide my expertise if it meant being here.

How's it going so far?

It's been fantastic. The cast didn't really know what they were in for, and I didn't know what I was in for, to be honest. I've come from England and the whole rest of the crew have come from the States. I'd never met any of the crew before. I was walking into the unknown. I've been blown away by the scale of the production, the professionalism of the production. Where we are is just awesome, incredible.

I've been really enjoying it. Part of my job is I have to sit and watch all the games, so bring it on. And I'm being paid for the privilege.

The soccer hasn't been scintillating so far. Why do you think that is and what has to change?

When you talk about past World Cups, you remember the great moments and all the classic matches. You don't remember the first week, which is frequently cagey, unexciting, a lot of nerves. Don't forget, there's been an enormous build up to the tournament for all these countries. I just think it can only be anticlimactic.

Once everyone's played their first games, they've gotten accustomed to the altitude, they've gotten accustomed to being in a different continent, they've played a game, I think we'll see players start to settle down. I think we'll see some better games. I think we'll see some goals. It's very cagey. There's been a lot of controversy over the ball, and that's played a part. I don't think players have realized the ball will travel higher and faster at altitude. We've seen a lot of shots going way over the goal, and I do think that some of that is down to the ball. 

Noah Davis (@noahedavis) covers the United States Men's National Team for and is reporting from the World Cup in South Africa.

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