NEXT GOAL WINS
NEXT GOAL WINS
Director: Mike Brett, Steve Jamison
Cast: Thomas Rongen, Jaiyah Saelua, Nicky Salapu
Synopsis: This ‘football film’ emphasises the power of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, giving an object lesson in what it really means to be a winner in life.
This wonderful documentary with its underlying message of tolerance, perseverance and community will appeal to all, whether they care one jot about football or not.
In 2001, the tiny Pacific island of American Samoa suffered a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia, attracting headlines across the world as the worst soccer team on the planet. A decade after that humiliating night, they remain rooted to the bottom of FIFA’s world rankings, having scored only twice in seventeen years. They have lost every competitive game they have ever played. Against this backdrop of serial underachievement, the team face the daunting prospect of a qualification campaign for the upcoming 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
Enter maverick Dutch coach Thomas Rongen as a loan appointment from the mighty U.S. Soccer Federation, with experience of playing alongside football greats like George Best and Johann Cruyff.
Rongen is completely unprepared for what greets him on the island – in his own words it is “by far the lowest standard” of football he’s ever seen, with only half of his team even fit enough to play a whole game.
Rongen’s team contains the emotionally traumatised goalkeeper who conceded 31 goals against Australia a decade earlier and the wonderful Jaiyah Saelua, a member of Samoa’s third gender, the fa’fafine, the world’s first World Cup qualification transgender player. To complicate matters further the team’s best player has been posted over six thousand miles away by the US military.
An inspiring and memorable film – it is wonderful to see this beautiful island and its warm and inclusive community nobly fight their David and Goliath story
Images courtesy of Icon Film