No training cone is left unturned as we break down the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer frame by frame in order to pore over the fine details and make a few predictions about where season 3 may be headed.
Ted Lasso season 3 is now a mere two weeks away. On Monday, Apple TV+ dropped the first full trailer for the season, soundtracked by the classic Rolling Stones tune “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and the ninety precious seconds of new footage not only has fans feeling more impatient than ever, it also gives us quite a bit to go on!
Within the new Ted Lasso season 3 trailer, there are plenty of moments that are easy to explain, and just as many that are impossible to interpret. But there are also a fair few more subtle clues that actually contain a lot of information, if you know what you’re looking at. In particular, Ted Lasso fans who don’t follow Premier League football may have missed the significance of a few moments in the season 3 trailer that gave me a few hints about what’s likely in store.
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I do follow football, which is only one of many reasons why obsessively breaking down the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer frame by frame in order to explain everything I recognise the significance of (with a few tangents along the way) and theorise about everything that I don’t seemed like the only way to go. Be prepared: this analysis of the season 3 trailer goes to a place of extrapolation and speculation that may frankly be a little alarming. Like, I should tell you right now, what follows here is over 5000 words covering about one and a half minutes of footage. But what are you gonna do? It’s been eighteen months since the show was last on the air, and I have thought about it every single day since the season 2 finale. If they didn’t want this show to alter my brain chemistry, they shouldn’t have invented Jamie Tartt. I can’t be held responsible for my actions here.
Spoiler warning, I guess, for inspecting each frame of this trailer under a microscope, to the point where doing so leads to a few big story-based predictions that I’m relatively sure are correct, but that certainly go far beyond the details shown in this clip.
The Ted Lasso season 3 trailer opens up on a shot of fans filtering into Nelson Road Stadium on a match day. There’s a combination of older-era kits and the brand-new Nike home shirt, but most notably, it features more than half a dozen people donning the shirt of a new player, Zava, who wears the lauded number 10. So straight away, we have a huge clue about a Ted Lasso season 3 plotline just from that bit of crowd costuming.
Feel free skip the next bit if you’re a football fan beyond the context of Ted Lasso, because you’ll know it already, but in football, shirt numbers carry a level of meaning and tradition. It’s not always rigidly adhered to — Roy, for example, wore the 6 at Richmond, which is a traditionally defensive number, whereas if he was being awarded the number that “coded” his role, he would be an 8 like Frank Lampard, the legendary box-to-box midfielder who was a part of Chelsea’s 2012 Champions League winning squad and whose existence and career I like to mentally delete from the Ted Lasso Universe in order to replace it with Roy’s (more on that later in this article) but it’s definitely quite a big deal. Roy, of course, may well have worn the 8 at Chelsea, and just didn’t want to demand that Richmond’s current 8 to give it up when he moved clubs, as sometimes happens when a famous player is well known for wearing a certain number.
The number 9 is synonymous with a team’s lead striker, which is why Jamie got it when he came to Richmond and why he didn’t have it at Man City, where he was less of a regular starter and mostly a reserve. Instead he wore 51, which was likely his number from Manchester City’s Elite Development Squad, the junior/reserve team that young players are fed into after their time in the club’s academy and that the first team may draw new players from at any given moment. Players tend to retain that high “rookie number” until they’ve been permanently included in the first team for a while and are offered a chance to wear a new, lower number that has either widely known or personal significance, though some don’t change it — Manchester City’s Phil Foden and Liverpool’s Trent Alexander-Arnold are still donning their youth-level numbers, being 47 and 66 respectively, after many years at the top level.
But the 10 is generally awarded to a team’s main creative playmaker, usually a star attacking midfielder. It’s an influential position, a facilitator, and maybe the most respected number in football history. Maradona, Pele, Ronaldinho, Zidane and Messi all wore the 10, and its prestige is why Edwin Akufo offering it to Sam on a Raja Casablanca shirt in the season 2 finale, and mentioning he took the liberty of picking Sam’s number, is such a big deal. It’s a gesture that tells Sam that he is being courted as the Casablanca team’s most important player, a huge measure of his value.
Richmond have not had a number 10 since, presumably, their last significant 10 left (we don’t know who they were or how long the number has been absent from the lineup.) Given Sam’s increased role at Richmond, Ted Lasso fans familiar with real football might have hoped to see him advance into the 10 shirt, but no. It seems as if there’s a new star in town — this Zava fellow. And he must be a STAR, a well-known, probably legendary player. Because among the crowd, we see Zava #10 shirts not only for Richmond but also from his time at Juventus and Ajax. There’s an AC Milan shirt approaching too, and while we don’t see the back of it, I’m willing to bet that it’s a Zava kit as well.
(Definitely skip this next bit if you’re avoiding any further spoilers, because it involves information that, while publicly sourced from social media, does include details that go beyond what Apple have officially shared about Ted Lasso season 3. So, again, a spoiler warning here for the next paragraph in small font.
Those paying close attention to Ted Lasso production season 3 will have picked up on the fact that Maximilian Osinski, best known for his role in Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., has been cast in an undisclosed role in the series, and has been attending events as part of the Ted Lasso family. Those playing really close attention may have caught a glimpse of some filming pictures shared on Reddit which captured the Richmond team, in their new Nike-branded orange away kits, getting into a fight with West Ham on the side of the pick. That fight is shown in the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer, but what the trailer doesn’t show is that Osinski, as Zava, is one of the fighters in that scuffle. Zava’s very clearly styled to look like Zlatan Ibrahimović — who played for, among others, Juventus, Ajax and AC Milan — and from the level of violence in the pictures, it’s easy to imagine that his temperament will also be much the same.
Spoiler part over. More on Zava in a minute, but I can already see the shape of this story.)
Next up we have the team bus pulling into Nelson Road’s training ground, not much to discern there, and then we start to get some close-up shots of our lead characters walking places.
First up is Ted, entering the dressing room while Will puts out towels. The team’s new Nike training kits are hung ready for the players, so it’s a work day, but it stands out to me here that Ted is not in Richmond gear. More often than not, Ted is always wearing a club crest when he’s heading to the club. He arrives in a Richmond jacket or embroidered wool sweater, then changes into athletic wear for training. But here, he’s in casual clothes, and he’s looking around kind of wistfully, don’t you think? My instant gut reaction was that this is actually Ted visiting the dressing room one last time, at the end of the season, after he’s handed things over to Roy as manager. Of course, this really could just be Ted wearing some normal clothes to work before getting changed into a track suit, but… we’ll see.
Rebecca and her fancy hat are doing a complicated face journey while walking inside a large and glossy building, and when she passes a plaque featuring Paralympic bronze medalist Ola Abidogun, it signals that she’s most likely at London Stadium, the home of West Ham — the club moved into the stadium built for the 2012 London Olympic Games back in 2016, and some Olympic history is preserved there. It looks like she’s on her way out of the place, and honestly, her face could be subtly pleased with herself, or it could be resignedly devastated, but either way, she must be coming from a confrontation with Nate or Rupert or both. Roy is totally unreadable walking the corridors at Richmond, but Keeley, walking out of her new office, appears stressed before looking up at someone to paste on a fake smile.
Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ hair and makeup designer Nicky Austin on season 2’s character journeys and what she and Juno Temple want fans to know about Keeley
And then there’s Jamie, walking out onto the pitch at the Etihad (Manchester City’s home ground) and very obviously getting booed at by City fans as his coaches are applauding encouragingly. We can’t hear the abuse, but Jamie seems upset by it, and I can only imagine that this is the response his mere arrival has brought out in the home crowd. Now that Richmond are back in the Premier League, this match would be Jamie’s first time playing at his old home ground since he walked out on Manchester City to participate in Lust Conquers All, and him being a local lad, someone who, thanks to that aforementioned “rookie number,” we know came up within the club’s academy… Not all City supporters are hooligans like Jamie’s dad, but still, he must be passionately hated by a lot of them for the perceived betrayal.
Continuing with moments on the pitch, it then cuts to our core Richmond players — Colin, Isaac, Dani, Jamie, Sam and Jan Maas — walking off the grass at Nelson Road looking miserable. The opposing team in the background is wearing sky blue shirts, shorts and socks, so it may be a loss to Man City at home — though there’s a chance it could be Newcastle United in their 2021/2022 third kit, as they’re the only other Premier League team who had a kit in sky blue from head to toe as an available option that season.
Right as the song hits its iconic, titular bars — “You can’t always get what you want” — we get our first glimpse of Nate. He’s seen sitting and sipping wine alone, having scored the coveted window table at A Taste of Athens. Then it’s back to more football action, this time at Stamford Bridge, and we get a goal-eye view as Chelsea open the scoring, 48 minutes into the match. Roy, Beard and Ted are differing degrees of angry about this, but there’s a background detail that makes my heart sing — a banner dedicated to Roy hung from the stands, either by the Chelsea home fans or by the club itself. It’s blurry, but it reads “THEY DON’T MAKE THEM LIKE ROY ANYMORE.”
What’s this about, then? Well, I mentioned Frank Lampard earlier, but I now want to turn your attention to John Terry, who I think is also a crucial reference for Roy’s football career. While there are other known inspirations for Roy’s personality, I think that his career and his status is meant to be a composite of Chelsea heroes Lampard and Terry, with Lampard, the accomplished box-to-box midfielder, being the positional element, and centre-back Terry, the long-term captain, being the basis of Roy’s role as a leader. Both were part of the England national team’s “Golden Generation” under Sven-Göran Eriksson as well (and Terry wore the 6 for England.)
A lot of real life football legends exist in the Ted Lasso Universe — Gary Lineker and Thierry Henry have cameoed, for a start, and Pep Guardiola still coaches this fictional version of Manchester City, but when thinking about Roy’s massively successful career at Chelsea during a period of time that you could probably ballpark as 2001 to 2016, an era which in reality saw the Blues lift over a dozen major trophies, I tend to blur both Lampard and Terry out of history and replace them with Roy Kent (and some other fictional person to make up the difference) and will continue to do so unless the show ends up mentioning them.
What really seals the deal, association wise, is the fact that John Terry moved to the then-Championship League side Aston Villa to see out the end of his career, and then immediately after retiring, signed on again with Villa as an assistant coach and helped to bring them back into the Premier League by the end of the following season. This match would be Roy’s first time back at Stamford Bridge since he became a coach, and Ted Lasso could be creating a moment based on John Terry’s return to the same ground as the assistant coach of Aston Villa, a little over a year after he took up the position.
If a player was an important long-term member of a particular club, it’s common for them to get a really warm hero’s welcome at their old home ground when they first return as part of the opposition, either as a coach or as a player. For Terry, there was a standing ovation from the Chelsea fans. There were massive banners. There was a special feature in the matchday programme, titled “Welcome back John Terry,” with special messages from both his former teammate Frank Lampard, who by then was Chelsea’s manager, and from Cesar Azpilicueta, the current Chelsea captain. It’s a really big, really emotional deal for a player in that situation, and I am hoping that the show takes a moment, during the episode set at Stamford Bridge, to give that to Roy, and honour his legacy. If he was a real-life footballer in that circumstance, it would happen for sure, and if it happens on the show, I will cry. A lot.
Carrying on with the whole not getting what one wants bit, we see Ted addressing the team in the dressing room, either at half-time or after the end of a match. They all look despondent, and Jamie’s sat on the floor the way he tends to do when he’s feeling particularly hopeless.
This could be a moment after a tough loss, but what I really want to draw attention to is the set of four lockers in the corner behind Ted. The names and numbers are blanked out on them for the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer, and the show pulled this move in last season’s trailer when concealing Jamie’s return to Richmond, so I have a fairly strong idea of what this is about.
There is a blurry but unmistakable Zava #10 shirt hanging in one of the lockers, but I actually suspect that all four of them are his — more on this in a bit. I would question why his uniform is hung up unworn when everyone else has clearly just played a match, but I actually get the feeling the two shots being cut together like this is a misdirect — I don’t think this moment of Ted addressing the team is, in reality, the same scene as the shot of the boys looking defeated.
As the music changes, we see the team alighting from the bus in their training gear. They’re being dropped off on some pretty residential street filled with old stone buildings. No idea what that’s about, but the tone of the scenes take a more upbeat turn after that.
The Believe sign is back and it appears to be the same one Nate ripped — there seems to be some visible tape on it. But the person we see being framed in the doorway under it is not Ted but Roy, alone in the coaching office and appearing to be hard at work putting together a formation on the whiteboard. Notably, in this shot, Babatunde’s locker is still there to the right of the door — it’s one of the ones blanked out in the shot I just mentioned. Hold that thought.
In quick succession, we get: the three Richmond coaches walking out to the training pitch where the team are happily lazing on the ground and awaiting for them, a grass-eye view of a player’s feet running over training hurdles, Ted and Beard saying something amusing to each other during training, and a moment of Ted speaking with the band of loyal Richmond reporters, like Lloyd, Sarah and Marcus. Everyone is laughing together, as Rebecca looks on indulgently. Absent from the press room of course is Trent Crimm, but we see him next, walking down a London street by himself in the evening. No clue what he’s up to here, apart from adjusting his jacket, but I am looking forward to seeing the role he plays in season 3.
Related: James Lance of ‘Ted Lasso’ has seen the backlash from journalists, and says Trent Crimm was ‘happy to pull the pin’ on his career
And then, because this show apparently doesn’t want me to survive to see the rest of the season, we see Jamie opening the door to what is clearly his childhood bedroom. There’s a single bed, football bedding, and a football-print robe hanging on the back of the door. There are certificates with his name on them, honouring school or club achievements, tacked up unframed on the Manchester City sky-blue walls, as well as a velcro dart board. When he enters, he finds Roy and Keeley sitting on his bed holding hands, and I have all the questions.
This has to be Jamie’s mother’s house, right? It’s implied in season 1 that Jamie never lived with his abusive father — James just started showing up sporadically when Jamie was getting properly good at football. But I don’t exactly see James Tartt as the kind of man who would find, like, a twelve year old’s performance worth bragging about — no, more likely it would have been when Jamie was an older teenager, a prospect for the Man City first team. Something for the man to really show off about, something that gave him the clout and the access that, in season 2, we learn is all he really cares about, much more than he cares about his son’s individual successes.
While I doubt this is his dad’s place — even on the off-chance that there was shared custody of Jamie, James Tartt would never keep a room like this for his adult son — I am sure season 3 will not be a James Tartt-free experience, not when we know that Jamie will be facing a tough time at the Etihad at some point. Could it be that an altercation with James while the team are in Manchester causes Jamie to head home and seek comfort from his mother? However it happens, I cannot wait to meet Jamie’s mum and see what that relationship looks like. I had hoped so much that we would, but didn’t feel all that confident about it. And yet here we are!
For all that I am beyond emotionally compromised by that setting being teased in the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer, it does actually also immediately bother me, because we know that Jamie grew up on a council estate. Given his wealth and success, his mother should not still be living in the same place that Jamie lived in when he was a little boy. It is basically in the laws of professional football: the first thing that lads in his position do is buy their mum a house. It sounds like Jamie has a good relationship with his mother, even if she didn’t know quite how bad his attitude had gotten during his time at Richmond, and I get that the show is probably going for an immediate soft, sentimental impact in showing us Jamie’s bedroom like this — I have absolutely no doubt that this scene will reveal to us the Roy Kent poster Jamie mentioned having up back in season 1 — but if they’re doing this at the expense of the worldbuilding, the broader soft, sentimental impact of him buying his mum a house, I’ll actually be genuinely annoyed.
Because him NOT buying his mum a house as soon as he could afford to reflects really, really badly on him. Even if she only wanted something modest, he should and would have moved her out of social housing. I find it impossible to believe that he didn’t. But if she’s moved, why would his childhood bedroom still be intact? Sure, I think she would keep a room available for him to come home to, but the only way I can rationalise this is to say that his mum is the kind of person to have set up the spare room in her new house for him the way it was set up at their council flat when he was a little boy. And given Jamie must have been at least 18 when he bought the place… that’s kind of a weird thing to do. We’ll have to wait and see.
Related: Phil Dunster of ‘Ted Lasso’ delivered one of 2021’s greatest TV performances, and Emmy voters need to remember that
The real question, of course, is: what has happened that means Roy and Keeley have either accompanied Jamie for a visit to his childhood home, or have possibly come there looking for him? Did he know they were in there and was coming to fetch them? Or he surprised to see them, either in general, or perhaps surprised that they’re holding hands? The status of Roy and Keeley’s relationship at the start of season 3 is unknown, but we left them on the desperate promise that they would be fine which felt, to me, like a lie they’re telling themselves. I’ve been assuming they’ll start season 3 broken up — could this be the moment where they decide to get back together? Either way, they look like they’ve been discussing something serious when they turn their attention to Jamie.
We’re given a pretty focused look at Nate’s new and powerful position at West Ham. We see his little green Mini driving up to London Stadium, and then Coach Shelley looking stern as he oversees training (on the grass of the actual stadium, which I get is meant to make his new workplace look more grand and important, but it stuck out to be because it is both not football-accurate and also interesting juxtaposition to his screaming at Ted and Beard to get off the grass at Nelson Road in the Ted Lasso pilot. GET OFF THE GRASS, NATE!) Then Rupert Mannion slimily claps him on the shoulder in a fancy office — you can only imagine the kind of sweet poison Mannion has been dripping — and then Nate walking through the club on a match day, straightening his tie as he heads down what I think is the tunnel to the pitch.
The Richmond away at West Ham match kicks off, and we get a shot of Ted’s hands twitching, as if a panic attack is coming on. As mentioned, the Richmond and West Ham players begin to fight on the pitch, and the Richmond coaches look concerned, but Nate looks positively scathing.
Related: ‘Ted Lasso’ composer Tom Howe on creating the white noise of Ted’s anxiety, the rawness of Jamie’s heart, and the warning of Nate’s descent
Then we’re back at the Etihad where Jamie is doing a roulette turn on the ball, which is also the very first move we see him do in the opening scenes of the Ted Lasso pilot. The score is still nil-nil, but he successfully retains possession and shakes off a City defender, and I’d be willing to bet money that he’ll go on to score immediately after this. The Ted Lasso season 3 trailer is cut to tell us that this is a moment of victory — we see Keeley, Rebecca and Higgins screaming in joy, then the Richmond coaches screaming, but both of these are scenes from Nelson Road, not Manchester, so it looks like we’ll be seeing several big wins for Richmond, at home and away. And of course, loyal bartender Mae and the pub fans — Baz, Paul and Jeremy — are all screaming too, watching a match on TV in the packed out Crown and Anchor.
Back at Nelson Road, Isaac jumps up to slap the Believe sign while Jamie watches on, and though there’s not much to support this aside from another shot that’s coming up, I have a gut feeling that it’s a goodbye moment. Ted Lasso has dealt with new players coming in, and will be dealing with that again this season in the form of Zava, but they can’t just keep adding players to the roster. There’s a limit, so for people to come in, others have to go out, and the show has dealt with retirement, but it hasn’t dealt with players leaving a club in the normal football way — being sold or traded during a transfer window. As much as I don’t want to lose Isaac, it’s a real possibility that this may be a featured story of Ted Lasso season 3, especially if Zava was expensive.
Speaking of Zava — this shot gives us another look at that corner, with the blanked out lockers. In addition to that, there is a leather recliner with massage controls, a TV that definitely wasn’t there before, and some sort of decorative crystal sphere situation that may possibly be a fancy diffuser or humidifier for scented mist. Of the lockers, one seems to contain a set of linen loungewear, one a robe, another just the training kit, and another just the match kit. I feel fairly convinced that this all belongs to Zava — that he has commandeered the whole corner and displaced four other players from their spots. It’s either something that the players offer him a a form of deferential hero worship, or it’s the level of special treatment that his celebrity demands.
This is not at all common in a football dressing room, even from the biggest stars — individual ego is anathema to British football in particular. I’m so curious to see this dressing room dynamic, with the other players and with Roy, and also because I just can’t imagine a world in which Ted is okay with it. Was he forced by Rebecca to accept Zava’s terms due to his extreme skill? We’re sure to find out if this is a source of conflict, but there’s no clues about that here, just Rebecca enjoying a biscuit as she and Ted nod at each other.
Cutting back to the team, Isaac scores a goal during training and the boys all hug him, (Isaac is a defender, it isn’t his job to score goals — is this his last day with Richmond?) Dani whoops in response to something in the dressing room, and there’s a private player’s dinner at a restaurant called Ola’s, which must be Sam’s new place. (Ola is, according to IMDB, the first name of Sam’s father, who we’ve met several times over the phone.) Dani’s behind the bar, Richard shows up with wine, Colin is in construction boots and shorts, and there’s a hard hat on the table in front of Isaac. It’s a celebration, no doubt, but what kind? The restaurant’s opening? Someone’s birthday? Isaac’s goodbye party?
Continuing on with the celebration, Higgins and Keeley share an ecstatic hug from the stands at another match — they’re not in the Richmond owner’s box, so this is an away match, probably the Chelsea match at Stamford Bridge given how the supporters are dressed. Everyone around them also seems to be applauding too, and there’s a glimpse of someone holding a matchday programme, so maybe we really will get a good look at that potential Roy tribute. But where is Rebecca? Well, in the trailer, she’s next seen occupying the back seat of the team bus with Ted and Beard after what was surely a raucous away match or a team bonding adventure. Ted’s writing in a notebook, Rebecca has her sneakered feet up on the table, and everyone seems to be singing along to something as the camera pans forward past the players.
One of the trailer’s most surprising moments is the sight of Ted, Beard and Henry in the crowd as spectators at a West Ham game. Henry is even wearing a West Ham shirt, and the Lassos wave at Nate, which Nate looks upset or confused by. It seems like perhaps Henry is under the impression that his dad and Coach Nate are still friends, and maybe that’s going to be Ted’s approach to the whole thing — to treat Nate like he’s proud of his success, and wish him all the best. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this tactic is sure to absolutely infuriate Nate. Beard, watching judgmentally with his arms crossed, looks like he’s fully aware of this.
Unlike season 2, the Ted Lasso season 3 trailer doesn’t contain a whole lot of dialogue — the scenes are soundtracked by the song, so we can’t make out what people are saying. But as it comes to a close, we do get some spoken important moments between the team. As they all put their hands in for the pre-game huddle, Sam, who is wearing the captain’s armband, says “I love you guys so very much.” His words are laced with feeling. Then Jamie counts them in, to which the whole team responds “I love you all so very much!” followed by the classic “Richmond!” as they all throw their hands up.
Sam wearing the armband is obviously a huge clue that Isaac is not there, but the thing is, Isaac IS in this scene, in his team kit, from at least one of the angles. This is, I’m fairly sure, two different huddles on two different occasions — the players are positioned quite differently in the moment they do the Richmond chant. That’s the shot that Isaac is there for, and I think it’s a different day. So it really could be that he’s gone and Sam is elected as the new captain. Or, wildcard, it could be that Sam is the person who leaves, possibly stepping away from football entirely to focus on other things, and he is offered the armband for his last match as a gesture. But I’m pretty sure it’s Isaac.
Of course, Ted Lasso is above all else a comedy, and they couldn’t leave us without a little button. As the coaches supervise training, Roy barks out “Great job,” which Ted and Beard lovingly mock him for, as Ted draws attention to the rarity of his praise, making sure everyone heard, and Beard pretends to faint, throwing his clipboard. What’s notable about this scene aside from the joke is that they’re conducting training in front of a weirdly large amount of spectators. This could be some sort of special access event for supporters maybe? The training ground does have stands, after all, but we’ve never seen them filled.
Right, that’s it. I’ve wrung every last possible drop of juice out of this orange, I think. No more questions, we’ll see you on the pitch.
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