Next Goal Wins (2014) - Rotten Tomatoes

Next Goal Wins (2014)

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Movie Info

IN 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

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Cast

Thomas Rongen
as Head Coach
Jaiyah Saelua
as Defender
Nicky Salapu
as Goal Keeper

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Critic Reviews for Next Goal Wins

All Critics (29) | Top Critics (5)

Both predictable and shamelessly heart-warming.

July 11, 2014 | Full Review…

A genial documentary crowdpleaser about the world's worst international soccer team.

May 6, 2014 | Full Review…
Top Critic

"Next Goal Wins" is an irresistible underdog story - sports-fan credentials not required.

April 24, 2014 | Full Review…

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.

April 23, 2014 | Full Review…

If you're a person, and you find other people worth your time and attention, Next Goal Wins will stir you ...

April 22, 2014 | Full Review…

Even folk who don't give a hoot about football will find their hearts warmed by inspirational documentary Next Goal Wins.

March 29, 2015 | Full Review…

Audience Reviews for Next Goal Wins

This documentary reminded me what footie is all about. Uplifting, touching and most of all inspiring with some unlikely heroes. I also, thought it funny in places. American Samoa are the lowest ranked team in FIFA and are more well known for a world record 31-0 defeat at the hands of Australia. The American Samoan FA ask the USFA for assistance and they send Dutch coach Thomas Rongen (the only person who replied to the advert at the USFA). He has played with the likes of Cruyff and Best in the MLS and upon arrival he does not fit in with the culture. Beset with his own personal demons the coach and the players manage to find some common ground and slowly a relationship begins to form. What does not help is that their best player is 1000s of miles away with the US Military and he uses his entire annual leave to be available for the World Cup qualifiers. For me the hero is Jaiyah, the first trans gender to play in a World Cup qualifier. She is no Vincent Kompany but what she does better than anyone is make the tea.....errrm no, I mean buy into the team ethos that Thomas is trying to instill in the squad. Some of the settings for the games are beautiful beyond belief (esp the game away to Samoa) and it made me think back to dreary away games at Plough Lane in decades past for some reason. Oh, and I think the keeper can play a bit too.

Justin Frazer
Justin Frazer

Super Reviewer

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