Sporting KC hijinks: Club ‘signs’ fictional player from ‘Ted Lasso’

Release served as April Fool’s prank
SAG Awards Nominations
Posted at 6:45 PM, Apr 01, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-01 19:45:51-04

Celebrated Mexican striker Dani Rojas is joining Sporting Kansas City on loan from AFC Richmond — but not really.

To celebrate April Fool’s Day, Sporting KC posted an article Thursday morning announcing the signing of the fictional 25-year-old soccer star from the award-winning AppleTV+ show “Ted Lasso,” which stars Kansas City native Jason Sudeikis.

According to Sporting KC’s tongue-in-cheek release, the club agreed “to ship a metric ton of Kansas City barbeque sauce to AFC Richmond manager and Kansas native Ted Lasso,” a character Sudeikis originally created to promote NBC Sports’ coverage of the English Premier League.

Rojas, who is portrayed by Mexican actor Cristo Fernández, allegedly would have occupied an international roster spot and rivaled actual Sporting KC midfielder for the title of “nicest human being in Kansas City.”

"Takin' on a challenge is a lot like ridin' a horse: if you're comfortable while you're doin' it, you're probably doin' it wrong," Lasso said in a completely made up quote contained in Sporting KC’s release on April 1. "Dani is a spirited fella and we certainly can't blame him for seeking a new challenge in Kansas City. That place is special and their barbeque is the best on the planet."

The Twitter account for AFC Richmond — which is a fictional English football club, to be clear — lamented losing Rojas on loan.

The real Sporting KC — minus Rojas, sadly — opens the 2021 season later this month with a road game April 17 at the New York Red Bulls.

The club debuts this season at Children’s Mercy Park on April 23 against Orlando City SC. Approximately, 6,500 tickets went on sale Wednesday for Sporting KC’s first four home matches.

Sporting KC’s hijinks wasn’t the only Ted Lasso-themed prank Thursday.

Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly also got into the April Fool’s Day spirit, proclaiming Sudeikis’ titular character as the Kansas Coach of the Year — with apologies to a handful of deserving college basketball coaches.

Sporting KC’s release, which was dreamed by one of the club's communications staffers, also was posted to the main page of the Major League Soccer website Thursday morning. It was one of several April Fool’s pranks by soccer teams worldwide.