Ted Lasso's Latest Episode Is Dedicated To Grant Wahl, A Legend In Soccer Journalism

"Ted Lasso" is not just a great show about kindness and mental health, and it's not just a hilarious fish-out-water comedy that pokes fun and British and Americanisms. It's also a massive love letter to football culture, to players, managers, fans, and even those who cover it professionally. This season may be a bit sadder than usual, but it still exudes sheer joy when portraying the game.

Whether its small things like including (and even constantly cutting away to) a group of fans at the local pub who initially make fun of AFC Richmond and Ted Lasso before eventually coming to root for the team and its coach, to references to real teams and players, "Ted Lasso" does a lot to both educate newcomers on "the beautiful game" as well as give nods to life long fans.

One of these is this season's storylines focuses on Zava, a footballer who joins Richmond and is a fantastic player — but also has a huge personality. The character is clearly inspired by the real player Zlatan, whose personality is so big and bombastic that it feels prime for a TV comedy. While Zava is a more easily recognizable reference (especially since the real Zlatan also played in a U.S.-based team), the latest episode ended with a very heartfelt nod that not every fan would easily recognize.

Indeed, the closing credits for the new episode include a simple yet heartfelt title card: "In memory of Grant Wahl."

A loving tribute

Wahl's name is not one that instantly comes to mind when talking about football, but for millions who followed along with news about the sport for the past three decades, Wahl was huge. He was instrumental in bringing football, or soccer as we call it, over to the United States.

Starting in 1998, Wahl was a regular attendee of the FIFA World Cup, which he covered for various outlets starting with Sports Illustrated. For years, he was one of the few American journalists to consistently and thoroughly cover the World Cup, as Americans slowly became more and more interested in the sport.

Wahl sadly passed away late last year of an aortic aneurysm that ruptured while covering the World Cup in Qatar at age 49. Shortly before his death, Wahl wrote about visiting Richmond England, and even meeting Coach Beard himself, Brendan Hunt, for a walking tour of the city. In the latest episode of "Ted Lasso," Beard is seen holding a copy of Wahl's book "The Beckham Experiment" (about the titular player's move to a U.S. football team). The homage at the end of the episode is a loving tribute to a legend of the sport who we lost way too soon.