I came upon this old BBC TV movie by chance on Amazon Prime. By the description, it didn’t seem like a soccer movie, but it turns out that the first 30 minutes deliver trope after trope of non-league football from the touchline in 1990s Bristol, England.
The biopic La Foquita: El 10 de la Calle concentrates on the inspiring rise of the Peruvian footballer Jefferson Agustín Farfán Guadalupe, whose nickname is “La Foquita”. Farfán emerges from the shanty town of Villa El Salvador, where poverty is so deep, that finding enough food to eat is a daily chore.
The Sisters of ’96 highlights an accomplishment that seems to barely register in American soccer history. While the 99ers are now easily recognized as the winners of the WWC 1999, how many know that prior to that, these women won the gold medal at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta?
What does it mean to be Greek? King Otto shows us through a grating between and then a melding of German and Greek cultures on a football pitch. Combining ambitious German discipline with Greek passion and spirit, the result is an improbable underdog run through the 2004 Euros. Like Morocco’s recent run through WC 2022, where fans found head scarves (ghutra) fashionable, this uplifting film makes you want to be a little bit Greek.
Looking for something a little different to watch? Classico is a cute mash-up of comedy and a little romance in the context of a rivalry between ultra but nice football supporters.
Super Greed: The Fight for Football is the first faithful cinematic telling of the 48-hour debacle known as the European Super League (ESL). It will not be the last.
Looking back to Apr-2021, you might recall the Super League with blurry pandemic memories. But because this documentary is from Fulwell73 and Sky Sports, whose business is to cater to football fans, it is hard-hitting and helps us relive the anguish of those few days. It really is like rubbing an enormous pimple on the foreheads of 12 billionaires, and it is so satisfying when the zits pop.
Truth be Told: The fight for Women’s Professional Soccer is an ESPN E60 production. The film covers the more visual aspects of the “This guy has a pattern” story that was reported by Meg Linehan and Katie Strang. On Sep-30-2021, the reporters broke open their investigation on abuses by celebrated NWSL coach Paul Riley and the organizational coverups.
It’s hard to believe, but even though it was a World Cup year, 2022 was one of my worst years for soccer movie reviews. I can’t blame it on the COVID-19 pandemic, because by Year 3, most of the world developed pandemic fatigue and pretty much threw their masks and self-isolation to the wind.
Africa United starts off with Dudu, a young AIDS orphan in Rwanda, lecturing even younger boys on the use of condoms to protect against the disease. He then blows up the condom and turns it into a homemade soccer ball.
Only one week ago, the world watched the Argentina vs France final of WC 2022. For me, the tremendous corruption and the controversies of the World Cup in Qatar overshadowed the football that was meant to be the showcase. But if I could put aside the politics, there were cracking upsets, come from behind wins, and underdog heroics.
This is a heavy-hearted review. I watched Grant Wahl’s docuseries Good Rivals during the two weeks that the USMNT was playing in the group stage of the World Cup in Qatar. I had hoped that Grant would see my review during the WC. But tragically, Grant Wahl suffered a fatal aortic aneursym in the press box of Lusail Stadium, while covering the Argentina-Netherlands match. He died just a few days after celebrating his 49th birthday.
The USA is not a world power in football, ostensibly because our best athletes play where the money is: football, basketball, and baseball. For years, American fans have lamented, “What if our best athletes played soccer?” In a delightful and amusing series, The Gentlemen’s League provides an answer from South Korea.
Canada Soccer’s #WeCAN World Cup Documentary Series is 7 enjoyable episodes that introduce you to the Band of Brothers who qualified for the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Fueled by his long love of Canadian soccer, Writer-Director Max Bell crafts a story of belief and build up that should convince Canadians they are destined to be a soccer-loving nation.
There was so much hype about the Welcome To Wrexham docuseries, I put off watching it until I needed the DVR space for the WC 2022 games. (It’s not like Ryan Reynolds is going to read this review.) But if you’re wondering what to watch in the deluge of streaming sports docuseries, Wrexham is unique because it is like a love child between Sunderland Til I Die and Ted Lasso.
Since Twitter is imploding as I write this, I decided that I would not tweet my World Cup bracket but am instead posting it on my website.