‘Ted Lasso’ stars Cristo Fernandez and Kola Bokinni dish on roles as Dani Rojas and Isaac McAdoo

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with the cast of 'Ted Lasso' (Part 1)

Only five episodes remain in the final season of the hilariously heartfelt Apple TV+ comedy series “Ted Lasso.”

WTOP caught up with two of the most beloved players on the AFC Richmond Greyhounds, the fabulous footballer Dani Rojas (Mexican actor Cristo Fernandez) and team captain Isaac McAdoo (British actor Kola Bokinni).

They’ve thankfully recovered from this week’s episode, “The Strings That Bind Us,” as Coach Ted Lasso tied a string between the players’ genitals, teaching them to delicately move as one for his new strategy of “Total Football.”

“We’re full ‘Method’ on that one, but we’ve recovered,” Bokinni joked.

“Something needs to change because whatever’s been happening isn’t working. We can’t afford to lose any more games, so we need to shake it up a bit. ‘Total Football’ is a modern concept birthed by Johan Cruyff. … I believe that Richmond has the talent, but it just ain’t jelling after Zava [arrived and quickly retired]. Jamie [Tartt] is the one to step up, so hopefully it works.”

Zava was a prophet-like figure who wowed the locker room with his on-field skills and off-field philosophy. Of all the players, Dani Rojas appeared to idolize Zava the most and thus was the most crushed when he retired.

“We all have idols when we grow up,” Fernandez told WTOP. “For Dani Rojas growing up admiring people, he had posters of Zava, the amazing soccer football player legend that he is, just as me, Cristo Fernandez, I admire Guillermo del Toro, I admire Jim Carrey, I admire Benicio Del Toro. … I admire their work. My favorite Jim Carrey movie I think I have to mention ‘Liar Liar.’ I put it on all the time and I just laugh and laugh and laugh.”

Fernandez loves playing Dani Rojas with his upbeat, optimistic mantra, “Football is Life.” In one episode, he says that he doesn’t drink coffee because his mother told him that he was born caffeinated with endless energy.

“Dani might not drink coffee, but Cristo does,” Fernandez said.

“I need my coffee in the morning, especially because we have good coffee in Mexico, so I need it. But no, it’s fun. I’m just happy as a Mexican and a Latino to be able to play someone with this energy and positive vibes that I actually genuinely think represents my culture and where I come from and put it out there on such a great platform like this means a lot to me.”

Isaac’s character arc has also been fascinating to watch evolve, from bullying water boy Nate Shelley to supporting Sam Obisanya’s boycott of Dubai Air by covering the sponsor’s name on his uniform.

Along the way, he donated personal items to a fire barrel to break Dani’s injury curse, served as the team’s unofficial locker-room barber and settled player disputes like where to order dinner during the team’s entertaining trip to Amsterdam.

“Good things in life are not easily achieved,” Bokinni said. “Wherever the character started off is not where he’s going to end. Isaac had all the tools but didn’t have the blueprint, so Roy [Kent] gave him that. He’s a complicated character. He doesn’t talk much. … The bullying of Nate was a representation of where he was in being insecure with self-esteem issues. … It took a dose of Ted Lasso, Roy Kent and lovely teammates to make him realize it.”

Of course, the once-bullied Nate has now become the head coach of rival West Ham United F.C., starting Season 3 as a slimy antagonist but thawing in recent weeks to become more likable as we watch his awkward attempts to court the hard-to-read hostess of the Greek restaurant A Taste of Athens.

As we enter the home stretch of the final five episodes, is AFC Richmond on a collision course with West Ham to finally give Nate some payback?

“That’s not the Ted Lasso way for people to get their comeuppance,” Bokinni said. “It’s not an eye for an eye. An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind, so basically, everything comes full circle because everyone believes in karma … but people can learn lessons in many different ways rather than I’m going to stab you in the back because you scratched me, I’m going to shoot you because you stabbed me … that’s not the Ted Lasso way.”

The “BELIEVE” sign may be torn in half, but there’s still a glimmer of hope.

The often stoic Trent Crimm of The Independent just giddily ran into the locker room saying, “The Lasso Way. You haven’t switched tactics in a week. You’ve done this over three seasons by slowly but surely building a club-wide culture of trust and support through thousands of imperceptible moments all leading to their inevitable conclusion. Total Football. It’s gonna work!”

Here’s hoping Isaac and Dani can combine for one last “Lasso Special.”

WTOP's Jason Fraley chats with the cast of 'Ted Lasso' (Part 2)

Hear our full chat on my podcast “Beyond the Fame with Jason Fraley.”

Jason Fraley

Hailed by The Washington Post for “his savantlike ability to name every Best Picture winner in history," Jason Fraley began at WTOP as Morning Drive Writer in 2008, film critic in 2011 and Entertainment Editor in 2014, providing daily arts coverage on-air and online.

Federal News Network Logo
Log in to your WTOP account for notifications and alerts customized for you.

Sign up