‘Still Defending’ (2020) after a life-threatening illness

Still Defending (2019)
Still Defending: Drew Beckie’s Road to Recovery (2019)

We never know what can take us down: accidents, cancer, our own bad habits. Today, coronavirus is foremost in our minds. But in 2017, Canadian soccer player Drew Beckie contracted myocarditis, an infection in his heart. The standard medical advice was absolute rest for 6-8 months and the warning that he might never play again. 

Continue reading “‘Still Defending’ (2020) after a life-threatening illness”

‘The Rhino Cup’ (2019) – can football reduce poaching?

The Rhino Cup (2019)

When anti-poachers asked a village how to help, the answer was a football league.

As a child, Matt Bracken developed a love for Africa’s wildlife, which lead to his becoming a safari travel specialist. From there, he became an anti-poaching ranger for ProTrack in South Africa. Protrack has 300 rangers in Mozambique who fight rhinoceros poachers.

Continue reading “‘The Rhino Cup’ (2019) – can football reduce poaching?”

‘Muerte o Gloria: The Rise of the American Soccer Fan’ (2015)

Muerte o Gloria: The Rise of the American Soccer Fan (2015)

As a soccer fan who rarely watches any other sport these days, I tend to forget that basketball, baseball and pointy football don’t have fans like soccer football does. Following the European and Latin American traditions, soccer is the only pro sport in the USA where, pre-pandemic, supporters groups show up with songs, drums, banners, flags, TIFOs and a s**tload of enthusiasm.

Continue reading “‘Muerte o Gloria: The Rise of the American Soccer Fan’ (2015)”

Sunderland ’Til I Die (2018) takes your eye off the truth

Sunderland 'Til I Die (2018-2019)

Football clubs used to publish just a single documentary film about themselves every so often, but now they’ve migrated to massive streaming series. Usually I avoid football club and player movies because I know they are going to amount to a very long marketing video. I made an exception for the Netflix series Sunderland ’Til I Die. And here’s why.

Continue reading “Sunderland ’Til I Die (2018) takes your eye off the truth”

‘Footeuses’ (2020) add women and football to your lexicon

In France, Footeuses is what female footballers call themselves, the feminine form of Footballeur. Until recently, to be a female footballer was largely an oxymoron: to be female and a football player was not accepted. This changed with the Womens World Cup 2019 in France and the hope that the hosting country’s women would repeat the French mens’ success at WC 2018. 

Continue reading “‘Footeuses’ (2020) add women and football to your lexicon”

‘Boisko Bezdomnych’ (2008): a fictional tale of a homeless World Cup team

Boisko Bezdomnych (2008)
The Outsiders (2008)

Sometimes a drama can reveal more about society’s problems than can a documentary. From its Amazon Prime description, it might not catch your eye that, unlike all the other movies on this topic, Boisko Bezdomnych is a dramatic feature film. The idea for the film arose from a Polish team going to the Homeless World Cup.

Continue reading “‘Boisko Bezdomnych’ (2008): a fictional tale of a homeless World Cup team”

‘Soccer in the City’ (2019) highlights soccer for good

Soccer in the City (2019)

The message of Soccer in the City is important: that at $1,500 to $5,500 per year, the pay-to-play model excludes low-income children. American soccer doesn’t reach inner city kids, who could be untapped potential to help win World Cups. In his feature-length debut, Director Michael Holstein shows urban efforts bearing fruit in DC, the Bronx, and Atlanta.

Continue reading “‘Soccer in the City’ (2019) highlights soccer for good”

More romance and less soccer in ‘See You Soon’ (2019)

See You Soon (2019) 
До скорой встречи

See You Soon (До скорой встречи) is a beguiling romance that combines fairy tale, travelogue, and a little bit of soccer. 

Can America have a male soccer star who is a recognizable face worldwide but plays in the USA? To American hearts still aching from the failure to qualify in T&T, it feels like a fantasy. Adding to the soccer fairytale, the ridiculously handsome Ryan Hawkes (Liam McIntyre) plays for the storied Los Angeles SC. (That’s LASC, not Bob Bradley’s LAFC). Celebrity has gone to Ryan’s head, and he’s a jerk who throws champagne and cocktail glasses when he’s mad drunk. Driving while intoxicated, he suffers a major knee injury and a media backlash.

Continue reading “More romance and less soccer in ‘See You Soon’ (2019)”

Only watch ‘Maradona’ (2019) for the football

Diego Maradona (2019)

Before there was Messi, there was Maradona. Asif Kapadia’s Diego Maradona is an extraordinary football film in its collection of Maradona’s greatest hits: his passes and shots as well as the violence perpetrated upon him by opponents. In extensive footage, time and time again Maradona throws off tackles like a dog shaking off raindrops. There is not a single moment where he looks ordinary on the field. Even his juggling during practice is something I had never seen before.

Continue reading “Only watch ‘Maradona’ (2019) for the football”

‘Forever Chape’ (2018): a third view of the Chapecoense disaster

Forever Chape (2018), aka Para Sempre Chape

Para Sempre Chape is the third film I have seen on the Nov-26-2016 tragic flight of the Brazilian team Chapecoense. This version by Uruguayan Director Luis Ara intended to showcase the team’s history and recovery, but not focus on the grim details of the accident. To read the details of the tragedy, please refer to my reviews of the Zimablist Brothers’ Nossa Chape and ESPN’s Setenta y Seta.

Continue reading “‘Forever Chape’ (2018): a third view of the Chapecoense disaster”