'Next Goal Wins'
(Coach Thomas Rongen / DVD / NR / 2014 / Ketchup Entertainment)
Overview: On the heels of the 2014 World Cup comes the powerful and uplifting documentary 'NEXT GOAL WINS'!
DVD Verdict: 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 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. 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!
And yet Rongen attempts the nearly impossible task of turning the American Samoa soccer team from perennial losers into winners. With the power of hope in the face of seemingly insurmountable odds, both coach and players learn an object lesson in what it really means to be a winner in life.
The games themselves are exciting; the editing is cinematic, and although the football isn't high quality, you're so invested in the players that it's as tense, joyous and desperate as watching your own team, and I had to refrain from cheering a few times in a fairly empty screening. It's like watching your kid's team play, only with tasteful, suspenseful slow motion. The theme of family and togetherness is the most prominent. These are all Widescreen Presentations (1.77:1) enhanced for 16x9 TVs.