Not one but two familiar faces announced their departure from ESPN yesterday. Brent Musburger’s non-retirement retirement announcement, leaving ESPN and answering all of our prayers by venturing into the sports handicapping industry, was the major story of the day in sports media. However, another announcement flew under the radar.

While soccer analyst Tommy Smyth’s news isn’t on quite the same level as Brent Musburger, the revelation that he’s departing ESPN is still a major development, especially for longtime soccer fans who have watched the beautiful game on ESPN.

ESPN FC posted this tribute tweet to Smyth before his final show with the network yesterday.

Smyth tweeted that while he’s leaving ESPN, he will still be hosting shows on SiriusXM radio and calling games with former ESPN colleague J.P. Dellacamera for the Philadelphia Union.

He also showed some of his trademark banter to a follower who wasn’t too sad to see him depart Bristol.

Smyth may have some of his detractors and he’s not cut from the same cloth as a lot of the top British soccer announcers we’ve seen ESPN deploy over recent years, but I always enjoyed his presence at ESPN, especially in the early days. There’s not too many venues on American sports television where you can get your commentary from a colorful Irishman.

If you go in the way-back machine a decade ago, ESPN’s soccer coverage consisted of Smyth and Derek Rae calling Champions League games on ESPN2. That’s back when my total lack of soccer knowledge was equivalent to Stephen A. Smith trying to dissect the NHL. “Wait, how can a team from Spain be playing a team from England?” and “I have no idea what this Champions League thing is, but it sounds pretty cool!”

Those are the years before ESPN became invested network-wide in soccer, before the advancements in coverage, before Ian Darke and Taylor Twellman, before their in-depth World Cup coverage, before soccer’s big boom in the last decade. And those were the years when I really became a soccer fan watching those mid-2000’s Champions League games on ESPN2. So maybe it’s a bit of personal bias, but Smyth and Rae’s calls of those games will be something I always remember as I was in my adolescence of soccer fandom.

For many of those early years, Smyth was the soccer voice on ESPN. After over 20 years with the network, it’s fair to say that he played a significant role in soccer becoming such a mainstream entity at ESPN.

Here’s the full tribute from ESPN FC to Smyth.

And with Smyth joining Dellacamera to call Union games, there will still be plenty of moments of unintentional comedy and bulging the old onion bag.