Without its cast, Ted Lasso wouldn’t be the massive hit it is today. The show’s premise of an American football coach moving to London to coach soccer is way more vibrant thanks to the characters who surround him. In Season 2, the show’s secondary characters like Sam Obisanya took centerstage. Sam, played by British actor Toheeb Jimoh, is a young Nigerian right-winger playing for AFC Richmond. In the first season, Sam finds his place within the club while adjusting to being away from his family and country.  Sam finds his footing in Season 2 and becomes a leader within the team and on the show.

Sam served as a vessel to cover several important topics this season, such as activism in sports, the complicated relationship between fathers and sons, the pressures of being an immigrant or the child of immigrants, and finding love in unlikely places. Jimoh’s part of an ensemble Ted Lasso cast, helping the series receive four nominations for the 79th Golden Globes, which are still taking place on Sunday, Jan. 9. Complex caught up with Jimoh to chat about the show’s direction, his character’s arc, standing up for your beliefs, and what he really thinks about his character’s romance with his boss, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham).

Rebecca Sam Ted Lasso
Image via Apple TV+

The show’s first season also won four Emmys and received nothing but praise from fans worldwide, debuting on Apple TV+ in August 2020, at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic. For many, it served as a reprieve from the cruel realities of the world. The titular character’s upbeat energy and the stellar cast provided the feel-good, uplifting escapism that so many were desperately seeking. In Season 2, the show explores the characters beyond the surface, chipping away at their lighthearted layers and revealing their truths. Coach Lasso (Jason Sudeikis) suffers a panic attack during a match, the team gets a therapist after a freak accident and viewers also get to witness how an unchecked ego can negatively impact a man through Nate (Nick Mohammed).

Some viewers weren’t pleased with the way the show deviated from being the comedic relief it started as and instead focused on feelings and emotions the audience was not ready for. Jimoh says he’s happy the show went in this direction and says that the series was “never just a comedy,” and he’s right. “[Mental health] is a tough subject to speak about, especially when it’s coming from a TV show that otherwise people thought was a feel-good comedy that was really light, just wholesome,” Jimoh says. “It’s important, especially in the sports world, to speak about subjects like these. I’m glad that we chose to go in this direction. It might have been tough at first, but people got to understand it.”