Goal Dreams (2006)

Challenges of the Palestine NT in ‘Goal Dreams’ (2006)

Goal Dreams follows the Palestinian National Team in the month leading up to their all-important World Cup 2006 qualifying game against Uzbekistan. The team has many problems to overcome.

They must practice in Egypt and play their game in Qatar, in an empty stadium. Six players cannot exit Gaza until 2 weeks before the game, so at times the early practices only have 5-9 players.

The players have many communication and diversity issues. One player is from New York, 6 are Spanish-speakers from Chile (which has a Palestinian population of <0.5M). Austrian coach Alfred Riedl speaks English with a heavy German accent, and his Arabic translator often tells the players the opposite of what he says. Between the Chileanos’ technicality and the others’ physicality, it is hard to find a style for the team.

A stateless team recognized by FIFA

What I learned from the film is that its purpose and that of the team was to establish Palestine as a nation, because it is a state with no country. The chaos they live with is so difficult. Bob Bradley experienced the same problems when he coached Egypt, as documented in We Must Go. But unlike Tibet and Greenland in The Forbidden Team, Palestine is a member of FIFA.

While the Palestinian situation is sympathetic, I did not find this movie very compelling. Watching the soccer drills was somewhat interesting. Also, the way the players were sweating profusely in Qatar, just lined up for the anthems, tells you that WC 2022 is not going to be fun for anyone.

5 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 5