Associate professor of sports management in the Plaster College of Business and Entrepreneurship Dr. Dan Sweeney was named St. Louis City SC stadium public address announcer in February following a short stay in the same role with City2, the reserve team of St. Louis City SC.
He now sits behind the microphone in the press box and has the honor of opening the CITYPARK before all 16 regular-season home matches.
“How often do you get a new franchise, a new stadium at a top level in a place where it’s the capital of soccer?” Sweeney said. “This is the capital of soccer from a historical perspective and to do that here, it’s No. 1 (in my career). It shoots to the top of the list.”
Sweeney is no stranger to public address announcing. Growing up in Montreal, Sweeney was heavily involved in sports and attended Expos baseball and Canadiens hockey games. It was there when Sweeney first heard the voice of the late public address announcer Claude Mouton.
“He had a very distinct way of announcing, in both English and French, almost going back in fourth like Spanglish, where you use both languages in the same announcement,” Sweeney remembers. “I can vividly recall … as kids, we’d be playing hockey in the street or whatever, we’d mimic his goal announcements, and it was fun for us.”
A window of opportunity opened while Sweeney pursued his master’s degree in sport management from the University of Windsor. Sweeney got a graduate assistantship in the sports information office at the university, where he helped out with university broadcasts, writing press releases, and running the control board of the radio station. He also got his first taste of announcing games.
“I was a little nervous,” Sweeney recalled. “… there were maybe 15 people in the stands, probably some family members and friends.”
Sweeney also jumped at the chance to work in soccer. He landed an internship with DC United in January 2002. He became the full-time public address announcer for the club the following season. His career took off from there. In 2003, he was the public address announcer for the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, which was moved to Washington, D.C. from China due to the SARS epidemic.
In 2004, Sweeney left Washington D.C. and pursued his PhD in sport management at Florida State University, where he continued broadcasting and public address announcing.
Sweeney and his wife, Jamie, along with their two sons, Liam and Jack, moved to St. Louis 2014. That same year, he began teaching sports management at Lindenwood University. He also continued to call matches – from St. Louis FC to the United Soccer League.
Not long after MLS awarded St. Louis an expansion franchise, Sweeney put his name out there to be the club’s public address announcer.
He got the job last February – the eve before kickoff of the 2023 MLS season. On March 4, Sweeney opened CITYPARK. He announced all three of St. Louis City SC’s goals during a win over Charlotte.
Sweeney’s commitment to public address announcing over his 23-year career exemplifies dedication – a core value of the University.
“I’ve done a ton of big games,” he said. “… There’ve been some massive games in front of tens of thousands of people at all different levels. … I don’t think there’s ever been a moment in my career that felt as big as that.”
“The moment for me, I think I really recognized that day, as the gates opened, I really started to feel the weight of that history and the importance of the stadium opening and having this team at the highest level here. I became nervous, actually. I certainly didn’t feel as settled as I usually do … it was just like, ‘We made it.’ It was awesome. I’ll always remember that night. We built the stadium in a way that captures the sound and keeps the sound in the stadium to add to the volume that’s there. But it just felt different that night. There was an extra decibel or two from this catharsis that this fanbase and this market have, and it all came out in that moment.”