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Polished Edge: Alexi Lalas of the 2014 FIFA World Cup on ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC
Q: Do you still play soccer?
A: Every once in a while, I kick it around. I play much more hockey. I grew up in Detroit, and ... it’s a law there, you’ve got to play hockey. And so now I actually play much more hockey than soccer.
Q: How does your hockey game compare to your soccer game?
A: I don’t mind telling you that it’s pretty good. I mean, I grew playing, actually, much more hockey than soccer, and so it’s interesting that I have reverted back to it after I did my time kicking the ball.
Q: You were also a general manager for three Major League Soccer teams. What were the challenges and rewards of the job for you?
A: Well, you learn how to manage people in a different way than is done in athletics. You’re close to men and women who work just as hard as any soccer player at selling the game and are rewarded much less. And you gain a tremendous amount of respect for those men and women for what they do and you’re exposed to that in a way that you aren’t as a player, where you’re often insulated, and understandably so, from the business of it.
I mean, it was a crash course in business and the business of soccer, and all the dynamics and all the challenges that go on in terms of selling the game and managing people. I got fired in 2008 and that’s never fun, but also I learned a tremendous amount from even that experience. So all told, I don’t regret a thing. I made plenty of mistakes but I also learned a tremendous amount along the way that as a player you’re never really exposed to.
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