Apple TV+’s smash hit comedy series “Ted Lasso” features a mix of comedic timing, skilled soccer-playing and emotion-inducing vulnerability. Based on a character created and brought to life by Jason Sudeikis, the show has seen two very successful seasons launch, with lots of Emmy Awards nominations. Season three is in process, with many thinking that it might be the last.
While many characters left off on loose threads or cliff hangers sure to invoke tension, season three undoubtedly will also include more soccer, whether it’s training or games. Jaime Tartt (Phil Dunster) and Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernandez) have been established as the team’s two aces. Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni) has taken over the coveted captain role for newly retired and now AFC Richmond Coach Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein).
Many might be wondering how much of the “Ted Lasso” cast actually play soccer. We have done our recruiting research. According to an interview with IndieWire, actors who portrayed professional soccer players had to display their soccer skills during auditions.
“It was vital that all the team really could play football, so it was absolutely part of their audition process,” explained British casting director Theo Park. “They had to do normal scenes acting, and then they had to show us their football skills on tape as well.”
Here’s which “Ted Lasso” cast members are the most skilled at soccer.
Dani Rojas (Cristo Fernández)
Dani Rojas’ character was originally thought of to be an Icelandic athlete signed to the team midway through the season. Instead he hails from Guadelahara, Mexico, much like Fernández.
“Back home in Guadalajara, Mexico, where I’m from, I played not the top level, like first edition, but I played professionally in the third and second division,” Cristo Fernández said in an interview with Screen Times. “That was my thing. Football was my passion since I was a little kid, until now.”
Fernández, who plays joyful and free-spirited Dani Rojas — the alternate ace player who rotates in for Jaime Tartt, has played soccer in the past. According to Decider, Fernández played second division soccer in Mexico for the Tecos of Liga MX. His debut for Estudiantes Tecos at 15 years old involved playing in the top professional football division of the Mexican football league system.
“Injuries made me rethink things, and I ended up in the First Division of Puerto Rico where we were close to the CONCACAF Champions League,” he said.
You can listen to the full Screen Times interview with Fernández on the Magic Rays of Light podcast.
As for Fernández’s favorite soccer scenes, he told TheWrap that he doesn’t just have one, but two:
“The first one is when Dani Rojas first enters in the show,” he told TheWrap at the Apple FYC carpet and panel discussion Monday. “It was my first day on set. It’s an epic moment for the character, epic moment for my life. Giving the best. There are cool tricks, did it all, proud of it.”
Fernández’s other favorite moment so far is the penalty kick Dani takes at the end of Season 2, given to him by none other than usually-selfish Jamie Tartt. The direct kick brings everything full circle from the beginning of “Ted Lasso” Season 2.
“The circumstances and the weather were very extreme,” he said. “Personally, every time I watch it, I go like ‘Oh my god,’ I get my chicken skin [goosebumps]. I know you only asked for one [favorite scene] but I had to give you two.”
This video shows Fernández balling out and listing his past soccer career credits.
Jamie Tartt (Phil Dunster)
Dunster plays Jamie Tartt, who returns to AFC Richmond after getting traded to Mancester City and then dropped by them. When Roy takes up the fourth coaching slot for Richmond, he tells Jaime that he needs to go back to beeing a pr–k in certain situations. Ted, Coach Beard, Roy and Nate all let Jaime know when to be annoying by flipping him off as a signal, which leads him to score a free kick shot from almost half field.
“There’s there’s a scene in which Jamie steps into back into his power because he learns that he can be a prick again,” Dunster describes the scene. “And there’s a free kick in that which I had basically, I was trying to replicate a free kick that Cristiano Ronaldo took, but in order to score that you need to sort of be Cristiano Ronaldo. And I am not. That may well surprise readers.”
Brendant Hunt, who plays Coach Beard, posted footage of Dunster’s successful attempt at the far out goal on Twitter.
“I basically had like four or five attempts at trying to kick it like Cristiano Ronaldo. And it was horrible. It didn’t work. And then one of the guys was like j’ust kick it how you would kick it.’ And I did it and it happened to go in and I was like, ‘Oh, the cameras are rolling. Okay, great. ‘That looked great. I didn’t see the first five.’
Dunster trained heavily for most of the soccer scenes.
“I’m not a professional footballer. It takes a lot of time and good editors, which luckily we have, to make me look like Jamie Tartt. In terms of training, we spent a lot of time training to make sure we get it right,” he told AV Club. “We have rehearsal days where we are figuring out what skills are needed. We have a dedicated sports choreography team for the show. We had a dedicated football director on season two who has worked a lot with shooting football.”
Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh)
Nigerian footballer Sam Obisanya (Toheeb Jimoh) won hearts in Season 2 especially. After receiving important advice from Coach Lasso to “be a goldfish,” meaning to have a short memory and let things go, Sam really comes into his own both on the field and off, protesting the team’s main sponsor because of the corruption they are aiding in Nigerian and sparking a relationship with Rebecca throught the Bantr app, which doesn’t use pictures but rather focuses on a melding of the minds.
“I scored a couple cool goals in season two, but I also really loved the start of the [eleventh] episode where Sam scored a hattrick and he just gets to like, do that hero walk. That was awesome,” Jimoh told TheWrap. “Also there was no fans there that day. So it was just like me walking around, like waving at nobody and like pretending hundreds of thousands of people were screaming my name. So obviously that was really fun.”
Jimoh described the rehearsals for the soccer scenes, reaffirming that a lot of the actors grew up playing football.
“I grew up playing football so like it’s it’s always been a dream of mine to pretend to be a professional footballer for a living.”
Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni)
The new team captain and staple defensive back Isaac McAdoo (Kola Bokinni) shows some moves when Roy Kent (Brett Goldstein) takes him to a pickup soccer match to get him out of his head in season 2. Isaac gets tense because he has to lead the team and fill the big shoes of Roy Kent.
In an interview with AwardsDaily, he revealed that he played semi-professional football before turning to acting.
Thierry Zorreaux (Moe Jeudy-Lamour)
According to CBC News, Moe Jeudy-Lamour, who plays goalie Thierry Zorreaux in “Ted Lasso” didn’t have a soccer background during childhood due to a series of health issues, but when he recovered his health, he pursued football.
He started out playing for a team called the Hornets in a youth league run by a Montreal non-profit Sun Youth. Thene joined the Saint-Leonard Cougars, a Canadian Junior Football League team coached by Marco Iadeluca, who is now the head coach for the Montreal Carabins at the University of Montréal, one of the nation’s top university football programs.
Zorreaux replaces the starting keeper from season 1 of the sports comedy after he “tears his butt” according to Coach Lasso.