Next Goal Wins (2014)
Movie InfoIN 2001, THE TINY PACIFIC ISLAND OF AMERICAN SAMOA SUFFERED A WORLD RECORD 31-0 DEFEAT AT THE HANDS OF AUSTRALIA, GARNERING HEADLINES ACROSS THE WORLD AS THE WORST FOOTBALL 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. IT WOULD TAKE A MIRACLE-MAKER OR A MADMAN TO TURN THE TEAM'S FORTUNES AROUND - AND IN MAVERICK DUTCH COACH THOMAS RONGEN THE ISLANDERS SOMEHOW FIND BOTH. 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. A LACK OF ATHLETICISM TO ONE SIDE, THOMAS' AILING SQUAD CONTAINS THE EMOTIONALLY SCARRED GOALKEEPER WHO CONCEDED 31 GOALS AGAINST AUSTRALIA A DECADE EARLIER AND A MEMBER OF SAMOA'S THIRD GENDER, THE FA'FAFINE, WHO LIVES 24/7 AS A WOMAN. TO COMPLICATE MATTERS FURTHER THE TEAM'S BEST PLAYER HAS BEEN POSTED 6000 MILES AWAY BY THE US MILITARY. WITH THE TEAM ABOUT TO EMBARK ON A GRUELLING WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION CAMPAIGN, RONGEN HAS JUST ONE MONTH TO TRANSFORM THIS RAGTAG OF LOSERS INTO A WINNING TEAM - AND PERHAPS LEARN A LITTLE ABOUT HIMSELF ALONG THE WAY.(c) Official Site … More
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Critic Reviews for Next Goal Wins
A genial documentary crowdpleaser about the world's worst international soccer team.
"Next Goal Wins" is an irresistible underdog story - sports-fan credentials not required.
In some ways, this is just another underdogs-go-for-it sports movie. In others, it is as sensitive and observant as an Edith Wharton novel.
If you're a person, and you find other people worth your time and attention, Next Goal Wins will stir you ...
One of the smallest triumphs in world sport inspires one of the year's most moving and entertaining documentaries...
Watching this was the first time I have ever punched the air because a football sailed into the back of a net. And very probably the last.
'Tis the season for over use of sporting cliches noting the romance of the World Cup. But if you can't find it in Next Goal Wins, you're not going to find it anywhere.
Even if you have no interest in football, you will be swept along by the emotional pull of this story, willing the team on to experience the joy of scoring their first goal never mind winning a match.
The pace is a little leisurely, and it doesn't demand to be seen on a big screen, but much like the characters it portrays Next Goal Wins is an unassuming winner.
Slightly muted closing stretch lets the air out of the ball ever so slightly, but by then it's already in the top corner.
I could not possibly care less about football, and I fell hopelessly in love with this movie, and with the can-do amateur team it introduces us to.
A triumph-of-the-underdog documentary so amusing and inspirational you'll have to Google events to ensure it's not a mockumentary. Back of the net.
There's possibly more terrible football on display than even Scottish audiences can stomach, but like the team, it's a documentary with heart.
The football is dreadful but the colourful players - like transgender defender Jaiyah Saelua - make this hilarious documentary a big-hearted delight.
Next Goal Wins lingers rather too long towards the end on drawing out its message, but it is a thoroughly engaging exploration of sport, culture, community and the nature of achievement.
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