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'Ted Lasso' through the eyes of a college soccer team

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Coach Colin Carmichael

OSU soccer coach Colin Carmichael 

So many people were bugging him, Colin Carmichael didn’t have a choice.

He had to watch “Ted Lasso”.

“I didn't have Apple TV for the longest time, I was like, ‘whatever,’ you know, and then so many different people were talking about how funny it was I just broke down and got Apple TV and watched it and now look forward to it,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael, the Oklahoma State soccer coach, has been obsessed with the sport his entire life. It was natural for him to enjoy the fictitious TV show about an American football coach from Kansas, Ted Lasso, moving to Europe to coach a professional soccer team.

But being a soccer fan isn’t a requirement to enjoy the show, because there is more to it than just sports; just ask Carmichaels’ binge buddy, his wife Stacie.

“My wife and I actually watch it and so I was surprised that she liked it because she's not into sports and soccer so much, but again (Ted Lasso) is not really about soccer, it's just kind of the backdrop,” Carmichael said.

The personal side of the show is also what drew OSU forward Grace Yochum in. In fact, she said her favorite character is Keely Jones, a model and PR consultant who is as far from a professional athlete as possible.

“That’s what's so weird about it,” Yochum said. “But I just think her wit, and she doesn't really care what anybody thinks, and she's still herself…I think that's pretty cool. I wish I could be like that.”

The actors playing professional soccer players are paid to play eccentric characters, not play a cross into the box from 30 yards away. Some of the soccer scenes make Carmichael cringe a little, who knows a ball seen barreling past a goalkeeper was actually poorly struck.

If the backdrop of the show is soccer, and the backbone is the interpersonal relationships, the pizzazz is humor, something Jason Sudeikis, who plays Lasso, has no shortage of.

Carmichael said he enjoys the funny sayings and quirkiness of Lasso and watches it for that rather than to develop next week’s game plan. In the show, Lasso architects a trick play called ‘The Lasso Special,’ where his team lined up in a formation akin to American football and ran a ‘play’ that resulted in a goal.

“I don't think any of those (trick plays) are going to work,” Carmichael said. “Yeah, I wasn't like taking notes and putting them in for OSU soccer, they were a little bit extreme. Maybe we could try, it be entertaining at least.”

Finding things to smile about in the midst of a massive culture shock is something the real-life soccer coach, Carmichael, was forced to do. He moved from Airdrie, Scotland,  to Houston, Texas, when he was 11 after his dad found a new job.

“I think it's really funny to watch, you know, an American guy from the Midwest, trying to figure out English terminology; That part is funny to us, because (we’re) British,” Carmichael said.

Carmichael said he will think back to his days playing college soccer at South Alabama or professionally with the Tulsa Roughnecks when he watches the show, seeing former teammates embodied in the characters.

“Every men's team has a Jamie Tartt, where it’s just he's looking in the mirror, he's got a little headband on, he's got to look sharp and (is) a prima donna who wants to do all the cool stuff and very selfish,” Carmichael said.

“I think they obviously make it a little more dramatic for TV to make more interesting, but in the locker room there's always going to be those type of personalities,” Yochum said.

Two seasons deep into the show, Carmichael can’t figure out which character he best embodies. He said in his mind he probably sees himself as the leader and captain, but in his former teammates’ minds he is the prima donna who wanted all the glory and the goals.

Carmichael knows the one character he isn’t.

“I’m definitely not Ted Lasso,” Carmichael said.

And Yochum is thankful for it.

“I think I would kind of get annoyed of his sarcasm and all the jokes,” Yochum said.

sports.ed@ocolly.com