Created just in time for the 2019 Womens World Cup, Back of the Net embraces many of the same values that propelled the US Womens National Team (USWNT) into the social media stratosphere: embracing diversity, teamwork and a can do spirit. If your child got on the USWNT WWC2019 bandwagon and wants other forms of that messaging, this is the film for her or him. On top of that, Back of the Net is a refreshing creative spin on the classic underdog tale.
The film starts with a bit of a trick. Cory (Sofia Wylie) is so excited to receive a soccer ball in the mail, but it turns out she just wants a round object for her model of the solar system. Cory is no fan of the game and is instead a complete American science nerd. She’s qualified for an elite oceanic summer program in Australia. But in her travels, she boards the wrong bus and instead ends up in an elite soccer camp.
Unable to reach her parents, Cory is stuck. Her problems are compounded by being different in so many ways and becoming the target of the meanest girl in camp. Her roommates though, become true friends and help her make the best of a bad situation. She in turn uses science, positivity, and her teammates’ individual strengths, to elevate the roommates and their coach above the level of practice players. They in turn inspire Cory.
And of course, since the girls are around 14 years old tweens, there is a little romance involved. And again of course, since it is an underdog movie, there is a championship to win, with Australian star Caitlin Foord handing out the prize.
Surprise, it’s not a Disney movie
Back of the Net fits the DCOM Disney Chanel Original Movie formula, and I watched it on the Disney channel. But it was independently produced by the Steve Jaggi Company, originally a Canada-USA-Australia based company with a process for defining their market and delivering to schedule. Director Louise Alston completed the film pretty quickly off a script by two American writers, Alison Spuck McNeeley and Casie Tabanou.
I point this out because I apparently have developed a little notoriety for dissing the Canadian TV Movie industry for being efficient but awful (see my review of Lethal Soccer Mom). But it seems Alston’s film has benefitted from its Australian influences, because I found it very enjoyable. Or maybe I’m just on a USWNT high…
The soccer in the film is not inspirational. But considering none of the actors were players, Alston did an excellent job of making the soccer look a lot better than the other kids soccer movies I’ve reviewed. I wondered if there really was such a soccer camp in Australia, with lovely beach front access, but it turns out the scenes are shot around the University of Wollongong Innovation Center, which is a business center.
8 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 8