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Casual Conversation with Georgetown Soccer announcers Dan Helfrich and Tom Greaser

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Dan Helfrich and Tom Greaser are the awesomely energetic announcing team for the Georgetown Hoyas men's soccer team and in the lead up to the Hoyas Elite 8 matchup, they answered some questions for Casual Hoya. Thanks to Dan and Tom for taking the time.

Tom Greaser (left) and Dan Helfrich (right) bring the noise and the passion during Hoyas games.
Tom Greaser (left) and Dan Helfrich (right) bring the noise and the passion during Hoyas games.

Catch Dan and Tom calling the game right here on Saturday at 1 PM ET.

How did you guys start out in the broadcast booth for the Hoyas? Do you do any other local games? How come there aren't streams for all of the regular season games?

Tom Greaser: In the basement of 3705 S St. I think Danny still has the tape of the Georgetown/Pitt basketball game we announced. We need a new PR staff if you seriously were not aware of our broadcasts. They are pure gold!

Dan Helfrich: We started broadcasting - to taped hoops games - in the basement of a shabby house on S St in Burleith our junior year. We have been doing the soccer games for ten years...and we DO broadcast all the regular season games. Thanks for noticing. But seriously, no bigger thrill than broadcasting for a great team that you love, alongside your best friend in the world. And of course, we plan on being strong contenders for the post-Chvotkin hoops era...

How did it feel to defeat the great Orange scourge and protect goodness from evil?

DH: A bit like it felt to see Derrick Coleman, Sherm Douglas, Billy Owens, or Rony Seikaly watching the Hoyas celebrate on the basketball court many years ago. Partially because of the rivalry, and partially because Syracuse was damn good.

TG: Not sure why you have to age yourself. To me it felt like the last ever Georgetown/Syracuse regular season Big East game. You know, when we won the Big East Championship at their expense...

Can you explain the substitution rules for college soccer because purveyors of the beautiful game will not recognize the chaos of players coming on and off the field and when and how often they can re-enter?

TG: I don't speak a foreign language, but I could understand a conversation in Beijing better than I understand that rule.

DH: As a matter of fact, no. But I can tell you they seem to change from year to year. But for the casual fan, what it means is that if you are mad that Coach Wiese has taken out your favorite player, don't fret he's probably coming back in soon.

Does college soccer apply a different handball rule because the referee seemed to miss a ton of calls in the Syracuse game?

TG: I blame all the missed calls on Jim Boeheim.

DH: I will admit I grew a bit tired of saying on air, "there's another hand ball the ref is going to let go." But fortunately none of those calls decided the game.

What are the chances that Tyler Rudy (#13) loses his head and decapitates some Wahoo?

DH: There is a 100% chance that the most Casual of fans who are just getting to know the footy Hoyas will love Tyler Rudy. Warrior. Scrappy. Great teammate. Agitator. Think Jerome "Junkyard Dog" Williams 1995 (just 15 inches shorter, but same long socks).

TG: I like that analogy. Do you think Rudy dribbles a soccer ball to class the way Jerome always dribbled his basketball around campus?

DH: Not sure, but I like Rudy and Josh Smith as a team in a 2v2 student-athlete multi-sport decathlon like competition.

TG: I just hope there is not a 1500 yard race as part of that competition

We here at Casual Towers (Casual's Footy Division) the stat that the TWO goals off corners were the first such goals for the Hoyas in 130 attempts. Is that something the Hoyas can repeat against UVA? Why did they struggle to score on corners all year?

DH: I will let Greaser handle this one since he has more than a few opinions...but I will say it wouldn't surprise me if we have another corner kick goal in us before this run is over.

TG: A lot of things must go right. You need to get good service (1789 quality), there must be good runs in the box and then you have to be brave and attack the ball. Thankfully, both Keegan and Jared showed the bravery and Tyler supplied the service on Saturday.

Georgetown looked threatening when building play from the back and decidedly less so when playing long balls to Brandon Allen (#10), which was the reason Syracuse dominated long stretches of the second half. How do the Hoyas fix that against UVA?

TG: we struggled dealing with the pressure Syracuse put us under. We need to be sharper on the ball, especially when teams are applying high pressure.

DH: We are at our best when the play is switched quickly and our outside backs- Turnley (#11) on left and Rosenberry (#12) on right- get space to attack on the flanks. Look especially for Allen to make near post runs when Rosenberry has the "rock" and for the big fella to have some really good chances against a sturdy Cavalier back line.

Joshua Yaro (#5) was very good. No question here.

DH: Not very good, the best player in college soccer. And not a "good guy", but a "great guy." A true ambassador for the University. By the way, Casual fans should click here and vote for Josh for the Hermann Trophy (soccer's Heisman equivalent). He has a legit shot at winning it.

TG: He is also fast. Very fast. A few games ago, Danny and I were commenting on his speed and we got to wondering if I could beat Yaro in a 100 yard race if I got to start at the 50 yard line. It is probably an even money proposition.

DH: Only If he ran backwards, blindfolded.

TG: we are going to set this race up!

CASUAL NOTE: Yaro was also named an All-American by BennettRank:

How much can we attribute the quiet games of Brandon Allen (#10), Arun Basuljevic (#7), and Alex Muyl (#9) to Syracuse's solid defense and 3-5-2 formation?

TG: Syracuse was the best team I have seen us play this year and it is not even close.

DH: A lot. And don't expect the same quietness come Saturday.

Do you expect a large student turnout for the game against UVA? How can the students and fans help support the Hoyas to victory?

DH: This is a berth to the Final Four on the line on home soil. As I toss and turn at night and think about Saturday at 1 PM, I envision more than 1,000 students and alums ringing the perimeter of Shaw field and several thousand more in the stands. A raucous environment, the soccer equivalent of when #1 Duke or the Gerry McNamara ‘Cuse squad came to the Verizon Center many years ago. We legitimately have an awesome chance to win the national championship and people making Shaw a very difficult place for the Wahoos Saturday would go a long way to making this happen. And, of course, I believe that we should have all our Casual fans on a boring college football day and a non-Hoya hoops day tuning into our highly entertaining broadcast. We are upgrading the quality for the occasion with many camera angles, replays, etc. so really hope people invest the time to enjoy the experience. Tommy and I promise both passion and humor...

TG: All of those upgrades won't help if everyone decides to attend the game. Maybe we can hand out ear pieces like they do at golf tournaments.

The Big East has 3 teams in the Elite 8. ACC has 2 teams. Doesn't look like any other conference has more than that. Could this suggest a new era of dominance over the ACC, a traditional soccer powerhouse conference?

DH: Until a Big east team wins a national title, it is hard to make that argument. Of course, I am picking a Big East team to win the national title this year. And to give you a hint, I don't believe it will be either Creighton or Providence.

TG: I guess you dismiss the national championship that St. John's won, or UCONN. Danny is not wrong often, but he is here. The Big East is the premier soccer conference in the country. I am looking forward to the Final Four being similar to the 1985 basketball Final Four with 3 Big East teams, but a better outcome for the Hoyas..

DH: First of all, I was talking about the "modern era" of college soccer, since tourney expanded to 48 teams. Second, did you miss the memo that UCONN left the conference for greener pastures that I believe are still left unnamed and feature such soccer powers as Tulsa and East Carolina? Oh, and they didn't even win that conference and lost to Syracuse this year 4-0.

TG: I didn't learn as many fancy things as you did as a Foreign Service graduate, but in the business school they taught us that 3 is greater than 2.

What ever happened to the Pots & Spoons Club?

TG: I miss the Pots & Spoons.

DH: Strong reference to the amazing group that supported Tommy and I and our teammates in the glory days of the mid-1990s. In addition to the amazing din of hundreds of people (including then University president Leo O'Donovan) banging metal against metal, the group mocked opponents in Premier League quality ways and also managed to incorporate many Karate Kid-Johnny Lawrence/Kobra Kai references into each game. Entertaining. Believe it or not, they so annoyed programs like UCONN that the NCAA passed a ban in all sports against "artificial noisemakers" (true story), so the pots and spoons went away but the left the spirit that Hoya Blue and the Stonewalls and all the Casual fans out there show today.

TG: You can blame the demise of the Pots & Spoons on Jim Boeheim as well.

How much better would all sports leagues be in the US if they embraced the relegation concept?

TG: I would love to see Dan Snyder own a team in the CFL, arena league, or whatever the division below the NFL is.

DH: Would that mean Kentucky would replace the Sixers?

TG: Who would have thought that Hollis Thompson and Henry Sims would be starters in the NBA. Do you think they are friends with Carter-Williams?

DH: Don't forget, Jahidi started dozens of games too.

How is everything from the Sweet 16 onward in college soccer NOT on a major cable station?

DH: Because that would mean people wouldn't be able to listen to Tommy and I. And that would be very unfortunate. NOTE: When Hoyas get to Final Four, the best fans will turn ESPNU audio feed down and listen to our broadcast alongside the TV broadcast.

Which current Georgetown basketball player would be the best on the soccer team?

TG: Is Joe Touomou still on the basketball team? Joe was a big time soccer player. On the current team, I would say Tre Campbell: he would be a dynamic attacking player with that quickness. Come to think of it, several of our basketball players would help us with our corner kick efficiency.

DH: Current player: Jabril. Though be wary of the red card. All-time player: Dikembe in the net as a goalie. Epic. By the way, the current Hoya hoops team are huge supporters of the soccer team and can be seen at all the home games.

How amazing is Taylor Swift and what she is doing right now?

TG: This is right up Danny's alley. He loves listening to the same pop artists as teenagers...

DH: Literally amazing. Regardless of the genre, I find myself singing in the car daily. She is likely preparing for the weekend broadcast. We will have a sideline reporter for this game, I will see if she is interested. Also, will make sure I slip in a veiled Taylor Swift reference into the broadcast Saturday and see if the Casual fans can pick up on it.

What has made Coach Wiese so successful at Georgetown?

TG: His Dartmouth education helps.

DH: Perhaps the only Ivy League undergrad with a Masters degree in engineering from Stanford coaching in the college game today. We always joke that he was a goalie in college yet somehow spends all of his time coaching the attacking players today. I am not even sure he knows Tomas Gomez, our current incredible keeper. Seriously, 4 reasons I attribute to Brian's success:

  1. An attractive, possession-oriented style of play that appeals to the best youth players in the country.
  2. Two very talented assisted coaches in Brian Gill and Zach Samol that have provided continuity.
  3. An incredibly supportive spouse and three great kids that keep him grounded.
  4. He's smart enough to listen to all of our broadcasts after the fact and make tactical adjustments accordingly.

TG: The coaches don't admit to listening to our broadcasts, but we know they do. Lots of our "suggestions" on the air usually end up being implemented the next game.

Prediction for the game and the rest of the tournament?

TG: 3-1 Hoyas. Amazing night on the Hilltop.

DH: Hoyas 2-0 against UVA. Hoyas beat Creighton in the semifinals and then a dramatic overtime winner over UNC to bring the first ever soccer national championship on the Hilltop. And perhaps cost me my voice forever.

Thanks again to Dan and Tom for answering our questions and for their awesome work calling the games.