Ted Lasso’s AFC Richmond and star players such as Roy Kent, Sam Obisanya, Jamie Tartt and Dani Rojas will be selectable as part of the “rest of the world” league in Kick Off, Online Friendlies and Online Seasons.
Players will also be able to pick Lasso as a manager in career mode or, if you prefer to imagine yourself at the end of Ted’s infamous pep talks, you can create yourself as a player to join the Greyhounds’ squad.
The award-winning Apple TV Plus comedy centres on Lasso – a contagiously optimistic American coach drafted in to help struggling AFC Richmond FC despite not understanding the ins and outs of the beautiful game.
Over the course of two feel-good seasons, he has succeeded in turning his enemies into friends with a mixture of folksy charm and boundless optimism.
“Having Ted Lasso and the whole AFC Richmond squad incorporated into the newest version of the game is truly a dream come true for myself and the rest of the fellas,” said Jason Sudeikis, who plays Lasso.
That phrasing sounds a lot like the character he plays, but not as much as Kent actor Brett Goldstein in his official response to the news.
“It is so f***ing cool to be in FIFA,” Goldstein said.
“I’m not sure this is going to help dispel the CGI rumours but f*** it, totally worth it,” he added, referring to the internet conspiracy theory that he doesn’t actually exist. “I look forward to beating my nephew in a game with me as Roy Kent and him as Jamie Tartt. He’s gonna be furious.”
As well as playing as the club directly, fans will be able to unlock extras in FUT and Pro Clubs mode, such as Lasso and Coach Beard manager items, Richmond kits, and the iconic Nelson Road stadium. Given on-the-pitch sections are shot at Crystal Palace’s Selhurst Park, which is already in FIFA 22, a slight change of branding should do the trick.
Nelson Road – the fictional stadium in the show – doesn’t actually exist. But if it did, it would be somewhere in the borough of Richmond making the Greyhounds neighbours of rugby union giants Harlequins. If planning permission couldn’t be reached for a second big stadium in the borough, perhaps a ground share with nearby AFC Wimbledon could be agreed, although the capacity of 9,215 would likely struggle when Liverpool and Manchester United come to town.
Travelling Richmond fans would be well served with TfL options for away days, however. With the club promoted back to the Premier League at the end of season two, away trips to Fulham and Brentford await, and are easily accessible by bus.
The daunting trips to Arsenal, West Ham, Tottenham, Crystal Palace and Chelsea would take a bit more planning. The big question is what kind of reception Kent – now on the coaching staff at Richmond – would get on the trip to Stanford Bridge, where he helped bring the Champions League trophy eight years before series one began.
FIFA 23 is out on Xbox, PlayStation and PC on September 30, with early access for Ultimate Edition buyers starting three days earlier.