Jim Curtin talks MLS, more on The Cooligans: "I believe strongly in the American player"

Before becoming head coach of the Philadelphia Union, Jim Curtin worked as a coach in the club’s academy system. 

Now, as he sees the likes of midfielder Brenden Aaronson and center back Mark McKenzie pushing towards US men’s national team careers, a sense of encouragement arises. Curtin delved into that topic and much more on a recent episode of The Cooligans.

“Overall, philosophically, we do believe in the Philadelphia player,” Curtin outlined. “I believe strongly in the American player in our league, in our country. Ultimately, as cheesy as it sounds, I want this country to have success at a World Cup and eventually move on and win it. That might not be in my lifetime, but at the same time I want to work towards that.”

Of several topics Curtin covered, he also delved into his playing days with the Chicago Fire. A defender, his first professional coach was none other than LAFC manager Bob Bradley.

Before the 2020 MLS season was suspended on account of the COVID-19 pandemic, their teams battled to a memorable 3-3 draw at Banc of California Stadium. The American coaches go way back, with Bradley influencing Curtin’s management style.

“He’d show you all the great things you did in that game, and you’re kinda going like, ‘I felt like I had the worst game of my life,’” Curtin said of midweek talks with Bradley. “He’d make you feel good about it. Then you’d play a great game, what you thought was your best, and it’s right back in there again and he’s showing every detail of what you could’ve done better.”

For more from Curtin on the Union, MLS and more, check out the video above.