Streetball (2010) best Homeless World Cup soccer movie

Streetball (2010)

Streetball is not just another homeless world cup film, it is the best of its genre. Despite being 10 years old, this documentary is fresh, vibrant, and still relevant in its reflection of the world today. Streetball also stands out as one of the few homeless world cup (HWC) films where the soccer is as engaging as the stories of the people.

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A Costa Rican gem: ‘Buscando a Marcos Ramirez’ (2017)

Buscando a Marcos Ramirez (2017)

I was thoroughly enchanted by Buscando a Marcos Ramírez, the first soccer movie I have seen from Costa Rica. In the story, Marcos’ single mom has named him for the popular eponymous children’s book and given him a love of reading. But when she dies, he must move from the simple countryside to the unwelcoming home of his grandfather in the city of San José, Costa Rica.

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‘Mi Mundial’ (2017) is a cautionary tale

Mi Mundial (2017)

Mi Mundial is a charming Cinderella-like football tale, except this Cinderella returns to the ashes of his old life. This futbol pelicula is based on the 2010 children’s book of the same name, by former Uruguayan futbolista Daniel Baldi. A prolific author of mostly juvenile books mostly about football, Baldi uses much of his life in his stories, and he made sure that the film stayed true to its origin and message.

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‘The Workers Cup’ (2017) normalizes Qatar

The Workers Cup (2017)

Now that WC 2018 has finished in Russia (Congratulations to Les Bleus!), the eyes of the world turn to WC 2022 in Qatar. But as happened with Russia, the eyes of football fans are blind to the exploitation and corruption that FIFA has facilitated for these two tournaments. The Workers Cup might open your eyes a little, but to me, Adam Sobel’s film normalizes the conditions in Qatar.

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Football is medicine for ‘The Other Kids’ (2016)

The Other Kids (2016)

First-time Director Pablo de la Chica initially set out to make a documentary about the young Ugandan players who had a chance to visit FC Barcelona in 2007. While investigating, de la Chica found Mubiru Reagan playing soccer in a garbage dump near the Mandela National Stadium.

The landfill is heavy with the toxic smell of burned plastic, but Reagan plays joyously while wearing a Fernando Torres jersey. Reagan is only 5 years old, but his skill, confidence, and positivity make him the leading goalscorer.

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A Chilean, Peruvian and Argentine meet cute in ‘Lusers’ (2015)

Lusers (2015)

Lusers is a delightful comedy of cultural differences as strangers from 3 countries travel the Amazon basin to the WC 2014 final in Brazil. Each of the trio (a Chilean, a Peruvian and an Argentine) is escaping a personal problem (thus a loser), but the trip presents even more challenges. They wreck their vehicle, are pursued by a hitman, are captured by an indigenous tribe, and discover a stolen relic.

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The Danish giant-killers of ‘Sommeren ’92’ (2015)

Sommeren '92 (2015)

Small country. Wasn’t supposed to be there. Fairytale run. Are we talking about Iceland at Euro 2016? Nope! Before Iceland’s feel-good story, there was a more unbelievable tale. In Sommeren ’92, Writer-Director Kasper Barfoed immortalizes Denmark’s giant-killing performance at the 1992 UEFA European Championship. 

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‘The Final Goal’ (1995) is a unique kung fu soccer movie

The Final Goal (1995)

Is this worth watching? When Erik Estrada has top billing, you know it’s going to be cheezy. The best line in The Final Goal is when Estrada’s henchman tells him, “You should have been an actor.”

Estrada is the bad guy bribing 6 players to lose a semi-final game in the Global Cup. The only thing in his way is backup goalkeeper Steven Nijjar, who BTW is also a master of martial arts.

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How ‘Sons of Ben’ (2015) instituted an MLS team

Sons of Ben (2015)

Don’t get me wrong. The amazing story of Sons of Ben needs to be told. Its 3 founders organically grew a 2,000 member supporters group that demanded MLS grant Philadelphia a team.

This documentary celebrates the founders’ accomplishments and provides many details about the SoB ad hoc evolution that you can’t read online. But Writer-Director Jeff Bell’s first feature film is pretty slow, and I couldn’t stay awake. It’s a lot like the way the Philadelphia Union play soccer.

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The best soccer dog movie is ‘Pups United’ (2015)

Pups United (2015)

Pups United is a feel-good family film featuring soccer and dogs. I rate it a little higher than the 3 other dog-centric soccer movies I’ve seen. The soccer is pretty good, and the two bad guys (Andrew Tarr and Paul Lang) are very funny.

They are bumbling criminals trying to retrieve stolen software that they’ve hidden inside the trophy for the Kids International Cup tournament. Each tournament team has a dog mascot, and these dogs help thwart the criminals.

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