‘Ted Lasso’: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Ted Lasso Who Are the Characters Based On

Football is life! – at least in the TV series Ted Lasso. This American sports comedy-drama has been one of the best projects from the Apple TV+ streaming platform and one of the most successful shows since 2020. The show follows American football coach Ted Lasso, who moves to England to coach AFC Richmond, a fictional English Premier League football (soccer) team. The adventures of Ted and his players competing in the most elite English football league are interesting, funny, and beautifully emotional.

Football fans realized that many characters, in this case, Richmond players, are closely resembling some real-life football stars, considered one of the most popular athletes in the world. We will list a few characters from the show and compare them to real-life inspirations, providing you with some of our speculations and opinions of the characters. If you are interested, stay with us until the end.

Who are the characters from Ted Lasso based on?

Most of the characters on this list will be AFC Richmond players since they are more clearly identifiable to real-life people. It is also easier to recognize real-life players who inspired the characters since they are in the spotlight weekly than comparing characters “behind the scenes,” like Rebecca Welton or Keeley Jones. So yes, we will mainly focus on the team of players, especially the ones featured in the Ted Lasso episodes.

As an avid football fan, I will conclude and mention football players that came to mind when I watched the show. Some of the inspirations of the characters were confirmed in the various interviews, so we will mention them as well. Let’s get started!

Who is Ted Lasso based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Jason Sudeikis’ portrayal of Ted Lasso is incredible, for which he won many accolades. Now, Sudeikis made the character unique to the show, but when the actor was asked what inspired his portrayal of Ted Lasso, he mentioned his father, his high school basketball coach, and real-life managers in the English Premier League, Jürgen Klopp, and Pep Guardiola.


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Ted Lasso isn’t as tactically savvy as Liverpool and Manchester City managers, but his progress is visible throughout the show. Ted Lasso’s passion and mannerisms in the locker room and near the football pitch are inspired by two famous managers. The style of coaching and managing his team is unique, but the most endearing part of Ted Lasso’s character is his “inspirational quotes,” which are hilarious.

Who is Jamie Tartt based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Jamie Tartt is one of the main characters in Ted Lasso TV show and the most talented player in the AFC Richmond team. However, his attitude at the beginning of the series reminds us of the most spoiled superstars in football. He is confident to the point of arrogance and thinks he is “the guy,” which doesn’t fare well in the team environment.

His looks, style of play, and reputation remind us of Cristiano Ronaldo and David Beckham, former Manchester United players, and Jack Grealish, coincidentally enough, a Manchester City star player. Jamie’s shenanigans at the beginning of the series are similar to Ronaldo’s situation at Manchester United at the beginning of this year; however, his redemption arc does help the team environment, which didn’t happen at United in real-life.

Who is Isaac McAdoo based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Isaac McAdoo is a big center-back of AFC Richmond and one of the team’s leaders. Isaac is a vice-captain of the team when Roy Kent is benched and is extremely protective of his teammates and coaches.


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With his stature, style of play, and leadership, Isaac McAdoo reminds us of Virgil Van Dijk, a leader of Liverpool’s defense and one of the best center-backs in the world football – at least he was two seasons ago. Nevertheless, Isaac is a great leader of AFC Richmond and one of Ted’s most loyal players, whom he describes as “a Rodin sculpture in cleats.”

Who is Sam Obisanya based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

A Nigerian that plays under 24 in the AFC Richmond team is Sam Obisanya, one of the main recurring characters of Ted Lasso TV show. Sam is a young talented right winger, a twenty-three-year-old man who knows quite well how to differentiate right and wrong.

During the Dubai Airlines boycott, Sam showed his good side and fought for his home country and the people who were negatively affected there. Many of today’s footballers fight for what is right, and Sam’s boycott for the betterment of other people reminds us of Marcus Rashford and Sadio Mané, Manchester United and Bayern Munich players, respectively. Their philanthropy is very well known worldwide, and Sam’s courage and determination to fight for what is right is incredible and emotional in the series. It also helps that he is a winger like Rashford and Mané.

Who is Roy Kent based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Roy Kent is one of the game’s legends (at least in the show) and former captain of the AFC Richmond team. Roy won the most elite trophy in club football, the Champions League, with another London club, Chelsea, and became an absolute legend of English football. His leadership and determination made him the captain of the Richmond team, and his talents helped the team reach the FA Cup semifinals against Manchester City, after which he retired because of injury.

According to Ted Lasso showrunners and the actor himself, Roy Kent is closely based on Roy Keane, a legendary captain and footballer of Manchester United, whose “warrior demeanor” and incredible drive to win helped United win many trophies years ago. After his retirement, Kent became a coach for Richmond, which benefited the team tremendously.

Who is Dani Rojas based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Every team needs a South American or Mexican player because they will be “ride or die” for any squad. Dani Rojas is a prime example of passion and talent who loves football more than anything. His motto is “football is life,” and his talent is something that Ted Lasso recognized immediately.

Another Mexican that inspires Dani Rojas is Javier Hernández, a striker known as Chicharito. His incredible passion and “nose for goals” was truly utilized during his tenure at Manchester United under the tutelage of legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. Ted likes to mention that Dani reminds him of Golden Retriever, which was also a common epithet for Chicharito.

Who is Tom O’Brien based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Tom O’Brien was the starting goalkeeper for Richmond until he was benched because of injury and replaced by Thierry Zoreaux. Now, it was never confirmed who is a direct inspiration for the character, but Jason Sudeikis did mention that Tom O’Brien is named after writer-director Mike O’Brien.

If I have to guess, Tom O’Brien’s situation at Richmond reminds me of Kepa Arrizabalaga, Chelsea’s goalkeeper who lost his place in the main team to a young French goalkeeper Edouard Mendy. That whole situation was “spicy” for the club and English media a few years ago, especially because Kepa wanted to stay the main goalkeeper for the club. O’Brien is quite similar to Kepa in the situation he found himself in and his attitude after he was replaced.

Who is Moe Bumbercatch based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

The central midfielder of AFC Richmond is Moe Bumbercatch. He is a wholesome team member – he loves knitting and protects his family and teammates. Moe’s name is unique because Jason Sudeikis named him after the famous British actor Benedict Cumberbatch, who has a famously special name himself. The creator admitted that because of Moe, he calls Cumberbatch Bumbercatch, which is hilarious.


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Besides the inspiration for the name, Moe resembles N’Golo Kanté, a notable center midfielder of the Chelsea football club, who is famous for his humble behavior and wholesome attitude.

Who is Nate Shelley based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

With his greying hair during his coaching spell at Richmond and now West Ham, Nate Shelley reminds me of Jose Mourinho and his tenure at Manchester United. Mourinho came to United to bring them back to “glory days,” but drama in and around the famous football club made him increasingly stressed and even greyer than he previously was.

Nate’s tactical knowledge (or lack of it) and his insecurities throughout the show don’t have anything to do with a legendary football manager who earned many accolades in his career. It’s just the toll the managerial job in the football club brings and impacts on individuals, and watching Nate Shelley struggling, reminded me of Mourinho.

Who is Kukoč based on?

Ted Lasso: Who Are the Characters Based On?

Finally, we have the right midfielder and one of the more recurring characters in Ted Lasso, Kukoč. We barely saw the player in the spotlight in Ted Lasso, but his name immediately draws inspiration to legendary Croatian basketball player Toni Kukoč.

Jason Sudeikis confirmed that he named the character after a former Chicago Bulls player, and despite barely seeing Kukoč in the show, we had to mention him.

As you can see from the list, most of the characters are based on looks and coincidental situations that happened in real life. Football fans will recognize similarities immediately, but besides Roy Kent and Jamie Tartt, there aren’t many similarities between the characters regarding personalities. The characters of Ted Lasso are unique and interesting, which makes the show incredibly good and fun to watch.

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