Going Pro: American Soccer (2014)

A gritty insider’s view of ‘Going Pro: American Soccer’ (2014)

Going Pro: American Soccer is a gritty insider’s view of the young men on the 2012 Brooklyn Knights, then a 4th division amateur PDL team. Director Sebastian Podesta captures tough moments as the Knights struggle to light up the scoreboard. Players aspire to become paid professionals, and a winning record is essential for any of the Knights to get noticed and for the team to draw fans.

The guys in Going Pro are indefatigable. They refuse to give up their dream despite being in their mid-twenties, despite injuries, despite finances, despite what looks like a dwindling roster as the season slips away. Their resolve is both admirable and naive.

The guy who comes out the best in this documentary is coach Andreas Lindberg. Director Podesta records many locker room talks, where Lindberg inspires or consoles like a pro. Although it’s almost comical how he wears a suit to PDL games like an EPL manager, Lindberg went on to become head coach at Long Island University.

Sebastian Podesta now creates videos for USSoccer.

Living the Dream

According to the NCAA, over 430,000 boys are playing high school soccer. Of those, 24,000 will play NCAA soccer. Of those, around 1% will get drafted by MLS. You might assume the rest would use their college educations to find a real job. But you would be wrong.

I’ve never understood this drive to be a pro soccer player. Grant Wahl’s “The Beckham Experiment” laid bare the dichotomy between millionaire Beckham and his MLS teammates/opponents who earned as little as $12,000 per year and held second jobs like cleaning pools.

Bobby Warshaw in his “The Play” Podcast for Howler Magazine often interviews fringe players trying to make it in the USL or MLS. These players downplay the challenges of “Living the Dream”. They always stress having a positive attitude, persevering, and building character. Bobby’s goal is to teach young players how to improve themselves.

But everything I’ve heard and read tells me that becoming a better player is only a small part of becoming a pro. Like many careers in the entertainment industry, the rest comes down to confidence, luck, who you know, discipline, perseverance, and self-belief. On top of that, you have to stay healthy and fit.

If living the Dream interests you, watch Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story. Watching both of these documentaries makes you realize how insane it was that DeMerit ended up in the EPL. Also watch Alive and Kickingabout a team in the other 4th division league known as the NPSL.

7 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 7