‘I'm A Part of Something Special': ‘Ted Lasso' Star Kola Bokinni on Season Three

Bokinni stars as Isaac McAdoo, captain of AFC Richmond on the Apple TV+ series

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

Smells like potential.

Just like a young football player who improves every season and exemplifies star-studded potential, “Ted Lasso” is climbing the same upward trajectory.

Prior to season three debuting with episode one on Apple TV+ on March 15, Kola Bokinni – who stars as Isaac, AFC Richmond’s captain – sat down with New York Live on NBC New York to delve into the show’s arc since its pilot in 2020, an arc that extends off camera.

“They’re like family to me now,” Bokinni said on the cast’s bond outside of filming. “It’s been a few years and we’ve been through a lot.”

To Bokinni, preparing for scenes in the show presents various difficulties, difficulties he believes are harder than the sport itself. 

When one factors in the sport’s skills that come into play on top of the acting, the slightest slip up could prove costly while shooting. The actors, who are not professional players, essentially have to be flawless in two different careers in one go.

“It takes a lot to film Ted Lasso,” Bokinni said. “It’s actually more challenging than playing football, or soccer as you guys call it over here, because you’ve got to be pinpoint.”

But all of those emotions and skills will only be amplified in season three, according to Bokinni. After the first two seasons explored the intersectionality of trauma, agony and heroes turning into villains – and vice versa – on the football pitch, Bokinni said to expect additional doses of what fans have come to love about the show throughout the new chapter.

“More football,” Bokinni said briskly. “More passion, more love, maybe some tears.” 

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But Apple TV+ isn’t the only platform the “Ted Lasso” cast has drawn plaudits from. In September of 2022, EA Sports added Ted Lasso and the cast as both a playable manager and team. 

Players could choose Nelson Road Stadium, home of AFC Richmond, to play matches in while also sporting the same kits used in the show, including the greyhound crest. Along with those features, the cast came with their own FIFA ratings. 

Star forward Jamie Tartt led the way with an overall of 84 and the potential to grow to 91. Six-foot center back Isaac McAdoo, Bokinni’s character, starts off at 80 overall with a potential of 83. For Bokinni, seeing himself – as a non-professional player – in the game as a playable character held quite the significance. 

“I’ve played [FIFA] my whole life,” Bokinni said. “... I’ve played it since FIFA ‘99. That tops being born for me.”

Bokinni’s friends began using his player in the game, too, which he found a surreal experience. Well, except for one person, who was not keen on keeping Bokinni’s McAdoo on their team.

“My own brother sold me,” he said. “... He sold me straight away [in the transfer window].”

Heading into the weekly episode drops of season three, seasons one and two collected 40 Emmy awards and nominations. Reflecting on the show’s success, Bokinni recollected one moment in particular.

The day the show wrapped season one, which later premiered on Aug. 14, 2020, occurred after filming a football block in December in London. Bokinni recalled the weather being around minus-two degrees Celcius, with the day being “really hard.” 

But as soon as producer Chip Hamilton called wrap for the first time that day while putting his hands up, Bokinni said everyone present screamed as champagne came out to celebrate the occasion. 

Then it hit Bokinni: “That’s when I realized I’m a part of something special.” 

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