American coaches scared of Ted Lasso effect told 'if you can't laugh at yourself, you've got problems!' as ex-USMNT star Alexi Lalas enters debate
- Curtin called show a "curse" for American coaches
- Lalas agrees on it perpetuating stereotypes
- But urged coaches to see the funny side
WHAT HAPPENED? Philadelphia Union manager Jim Curtin offered his thoughts to The Athletic last week, claiming that whilst he enjoyed the streaming show, it has been somewhat of a "curse" for American coaches trying to make their name in Europe. In his view, it has led to his compatriots being taken less seriously.
Lalas told his State of the Union Podcast that, in the first instance, he understands Curtin's concerns. But he also called on managers from the U.S. to view Ted Lasso for what it is - an entertainment program - and urged them to look beyond the negative stereotypes that even Lalas admits it may be perpetuating.
WHAT THEY SAID: "Make no mistake, Ted Lasso is built around a stereotype of American coaches. It consistently reinforces a stereotype of American coaches, and in that sense I think Jim Curtin is absolutely correct," the former USMNT star said. "But I think more often than not, it laughs with us, American soccer people, than at us. This is about entertainment. Ted Lasso has no responsibility to American soccer, American soccer coaches, it has a responsibility to entertain.
"I'm sure [Curtin] has aspirations to do 'bigger things', [such as] at some point going to Europe. He has seen what's happened with the likes of Bob Bradley and Jesse Marsch. So when the world is watching this show, it has the potential to hurt that perception... it feeds into that stereotype that we see on a consistent basis and that many of us have been fighting against."
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Lalas continued: "[But] it’s not to the point where I think that this is something that I think should go away. We’re going to be just fine. Jim Curtin is going to be just fine. American soccer is going to be just fine. It can certainly withstand a show like Ted Lasso that pokes fun at us, at the game, because I think that there is also a tremendous amount of good that it is doing. Ultimately, if you can’t laugh at yourself, then I think you’ve got problems."
AND WHAT'S MORE: The former defender did hasten to add that his remarks didn't necessarily apply to the Philadelphia Union head coach, as Lalas admitted: "I love Jim Curtin precisely because he can laugh at himself. I think he recognises it, but I also think he’s coming into own when it comes to his platform and his voice."
IN THREE PHOTOS:
WHAT NEXT? Curtin - who could be in line to take the vacant USMNT managerial post - has overseen a win and a loss since MLS resumed in late February, plus a CONCACAF Champions League draw. The Philadelphia Union are next in action against the Chicago Fire on Saturday.
Season three of Ted Lasso will be released later this month.
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