Kick Like a Girl is a 25-minute HBO documentary that follows a team of 8 year old girls who, having devastated all competition the previous two years, decide to get more challenge by playing in the boys division.
The team is coached by soccer mom Jenny Mackenzie, a 40ish PhD social worker turned filmmaker who also directed and wrote the documentary. Apparently the team’s games were filmed in Salt Lake City in 2005, but it took several years to complete and distribute the project.
The film is charming, and the 8 year olds are adorable, particularly Jenny’s daughter. Lizzie appears to be a star on the team and is also a Type 1 diabetic. A google search in 2012 showed that she became a competitive high school tennis player.
San Jose was ahead of its time
Being from Silicon Valley, I found the film a bit anachronistic, because around here, girls playing sports with or against boys has been pretty common for a long time. E.g., Brandi Chastain played on a boys middle school team about 2 decades ago. So when the girls’ parents take offense at the boys’ parents wailing at their players not to get beat by girls, both attitudes feel to me like making a mountain from a mole hill.
But then I have to tell myself, oh wait, that’s Salt Lake City. Of course a lot of parents are going to prefer male gender superiority.
A good example of positive coaching
However, the film is inspiring for young dads and moms wanting to become parent coaches even though they don’t know the game. Jennie Mackenzie is also a motivational speaker, and her positive coaching behavior on the sideline is the kind that AYSO would love to clone.
I received this DVD at a FC Gold Pride game. I’ve also seen the film on HBO. But the DVD has a lot of extras including coverage of the NYC launch with Kristine Lilly and Heather O’Reilly. There is a also a segment on how little Lizzie was managing her diabetes starting at age 5.
6 Soccer Movie Mom Rating = 6