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Next Goal Wins: A Powerful Documentary about Resilience and Community in Football

Next Goal Wins: A Moving Film about Perseverance and Resilience

In 2001, American Samoa’s national football team suffered a historic 31-0 loss to their Australian counterparts – the worst in the history of international football. The team had conceded an average of 8.6 goals per game with a win percentage of just 0.00.

Things looked bleak for American Samoa’s football program, with poor funding, lack of support, and a team that had just consistently been losing. Fast forward to 2014, and American Samoa had a new coach, businesswoman and former footballer Jaiyah Saelua.

Saelua, alongside Dutchman Thomas Rongen, lead the team through extraordinary moments of physical and mental endurance, battling cultural and personal challenges as they go through the rigorous 2014 World Cup qualifiers in their quest to rewrite history and gain that elusive first-ever win. Next Goal Wins is a moving documentary that highlights the true grit and determination of the American Samoan national football team as they struggle to gain a win and redeem themselves after decades of failure.

The team was made up of a motley crew of players: some with little or no experience, others previously retired, some having played in the lower leagues. Most notable, however, was Jaiyah Saelua, the world’s first, and currently the only, publicly known fa’afafine (a person who identifies themselves as female, in a society that only recognizes male or female as the accepted gender) to play in international football.

Directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, the story is told through a series of interviews, behind-the-scenes footage, and match-day drama. The narrative covers everything, from the team’s preparation for the World Cup Qualifiers, their past failures, to the emotional toll their struggles have had on the players and coaching staff alike.

The documentary is an uplifting, heartwarming, and emotional ride a great testament to the human spirit of perseverance and resilience. What makes Next Goal Wins stand out is its ability to portray football as more than just a game.

The filmmakers drew attention to the transformative power of football as an agent for social change and community building. The documentary shows how football can break down barriers of age, gender, ethnicity, and cultural differences to create something that transcends sport and becomes a source of pride and unity, a force that brings people together in a way that other things cannot.

Next Goal Wins is not just for football fans; it is a movie for anyone who loves to see ordinary people do extraordinary things, for those who like to see the underdog succeed, and for people who are inspired to make positive changes in their lives, regardless of how small they may be. In conclusion, Next Goal Wins is an exceptional documentary that will make you laugh, cry, and cheer.

It presents the power of resilience, hard work, and love for the game. It tells a story of people who refused to give up, even in the face of seemingly impossible odds.

The documentary helped to inspire and uncover a human connection that goes beyond sports or national allegiance. Next Goal Wins is a touching and heartwarming cinematic experience that will stay with anyone who watches it.

Next Goal Wins is a deeply resonant story that leaves an emotional imprint on anyone who watches it. The documentary chronicles the journey of American Samoa’s national football team; a team considered the worst in international football history.

The team has never won a match, in a period spanning over 3 decades, and has been ridiculed and taunted internationally. As the team prepares to compete in the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualifiers, they enlist the help of Thomas Rongen, a Dutch-American coach, and a former Olympian, who is tasked with training the team in a period of just four weeks.

With only one true recognized star player, the team is comprised of young inexperienced players, a goalkeeper with one hand, and a world first openly transgender player in international competition. Throughout the documentary, we see Rongen and his team of coaches instill a sense of belief in the team that they can win and harp on strategies that play to the team’s strengths.

The film portrays the sheer effort and determination the team needed to put in to even achieve a level of basic competence, let alone progress on a global stage. The film examines the challenges the team faces throughout their journey, including their lack of financial resources, limited access to proper equipment, minimal support from the American Samoan government, and difficulties in finding enough players to even field a team.

Despite the extensive challenges that the team faced, they manage to lift themselves and bring a sense of pride to their nation. The story thrives on its depiction of the theme of underdogs and triumph in the face of adversity.

Most of the players on the team had never played before at this level of competition, and therefore, the odds of victory for the team were slim. However, that did not deter the team and Rongen, who continually push them into believing in themselves.

The various inter-personal relationships and dynamics are also portrayed effectively throughout the documentary. Jaiyah Saelua, the only openly transgender player in international soccer, becomes a unifying figure in the team.

Her acceptance by her male teammates creates a sense of togetherness and breaks down barriers within the team. Moreover, The film also tackles significant cultural topics with great nuance.

American Samoa is a society where football is not the most significant sport; that accolade is reserved for rugby. The football team, as such, is not afforded the same level of support from the community as the rugby team.

Furthermore, American Samoan has a very deep-seated cultural machismo, and the presence of an openly transgender person in their midst is not met lightly. The documentary effectively showcases the cultural transitions the team has to make as they move on from being considered a joke of international football to a team that is finally seen as a viable contender.

The cultural transition adds a layer of complexity to the journey and makes the journey even more compelling, as we see the bond that the team has to form with its country, culture and language. Next Goal Wins is an inspiring and uplifting cinematic experience.

It celebrates the human spirit of resilience, determination, and perseverance, and offers a profound message on the power of unity to effect change. The documentary is a must-watch for any sports fan, but it is particularly relevant in these times of social upheaval, where the world is facing an unprecedented global crisis.

The film displays how much can be achieved when people are brought together for a common goal, despite their differences, and when they are willing to work together towards it. In conclusion, Next Goal Wins is a tribute to human perseverance, fortitude, and team spirit that transcends time, place, and culture.

The film effectively showcases the struggles of a team determined to overcome the odds and the impact that sports can have on a community in need of direction and unity. The documentary offers an inspiring and emotional journey that is sure to leave a lasting impression on its viewers.

Next Goal Wins is a film that is brilliantly produced, immersing us deeply into the world of American Samoa’s National Football team. The documentary’s production was a long, arduous process, and the result is an impressive and poignant piece of work.

In this article, we will delve into the production of Next Goal Wins and how it was put together. The documentary was co-directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, both of whom are well-known in the sports documentary film industry.

Brett and Jamison are no strangers to the world of sports documentaries and have spent years handcrafting documentaries that transcend the field of sports and appeal to people of all backgrounds. The production team for Next Goal Wins spent weeks on location with the American Samoan team, and it is apparent from the film that the team had developed a comfortable familiarity with the film crew.

The documentary’s ability to capture real moments, ranging from team disagreements to moments of joy, makes the documentary more human and authentic. Next Goal Wins wouldn’t have been as powerful without the contribution of a dedicated crew of camera operators, sound experts, editors, and graphics designers.

The production team made excellent use of the technology at their disposal, with drone shots, steady cam, and time-lapse photography. The filmmakers also employed the use of high-speed cameras to capture the action on the field with remarkable detail.

The film was shot over a period of many weeks and during this time exposed the production team to various cultural and logistical difficulties. Shooting a documentary on location in such a remote part of the world came with transportation difficulties, technical difficulties and logistical challenges.

The crew had to carry out multiple moves from island to island in the Pacific. Notably, the production team shipped in equipment via boats or planes to locations which were otherwise inaccessible.

Despite all those difficulties, the crew managed to seamlessly capture the moments of conflict, camaraderie, and triumph, all while respecting the team’s privacy and culture. The filmmakers had to work with translators to make sure that they communicated and understood the players and coach.

They even used subtitles when the team spoke in Samoan, which adds another unique dimension to the documentary. The documentary’s soundtrack is also an essential part of its production.

It is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional Samoan music, which enhances the emotional journey of the team. The soundtrack was carefully chosen to suit the film’s tone, and it does a fantastic job of portraying the atmosphere of American Samoa, which is an essential part of the film’s setting and emotional arc.

The film’s pre-production and planning stages were extensive, with research being undertaken beforehand to ensure the end product was of the highest quality. The production team flew to American Samoa several times to familiarise themselves with the culture and to get to know the people they were filming.

This resulted in the film being more informed and artfully crafted. In conclusion, Next Goal Wins is an excellent example of what a fantastic sports documentary should look like.

The production design is distinctive in many ways, and this is the result of valuable research, planning, and creativity. The production team’s efforts were critical in creating a stunning visual record of the team’s journey, which pulls you into the lives of the American Samoan players.

Overall, the production of Next Goal Wins was a massive undertaking, and the team deserves recognition for the work they put in to create a fantastic piece of cinema. The release of Next Goal Wins was highly anticipated in the sports documentary world.

After premiering at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, the film’s cinematic release built a significant buzz. Once the film premiered, it received overwhelming positive reviews and critical acclaim.

In this article, we will delve into the release of Next Goal Wins and how it was received by both the critics and audiences. After the premiere, Next Goal Wins hit the film festival circuit and was screened at more festivals worldwide.

The film garnered standing ovations, adulation and praise, and director Mike Brett was even hailed as one of the breakthrough talents of the year. Next Goal Wins was acquired by Fox Sports and it was broadcasted to millions of viewers in America, making it the first film to debut on national TV.

The documentary brought more attention to the plight of the American Samoan team and the strength of humanity in the face of adversity. The reception from the audience was exceptional.

The documentary’s uplifting message of courage, resilience, and perseverance was a combination that resonated with people across the globe. The response from the Samoan football community was unsurprisingly emotive, with the film holding a special place in the hearts of those struggling to grow football’s presence in American Samoa.

Critics around the world showered commendation on the documentary, praising everything from the direction to the sound, photography, and story. The film received a 97% rating on the film review website Rotten Tomatoes, which made it one of the best-reviewed films of the year.

The strong reviews, word of mouth, social media attention and marketing helped Next Goal Wins draw significant attention and earn it a streaming deal with Netflix, which bolstered its visibility to a wider audience worldwide. Next Goal Wins has managed to ignite conversations around the country, encouraging people to see how sports can positively impact a nation’s culture and community.

The film’s success has also started a conversation about the lack of resources and the state of football in smaller Pacific nations, generating awareness among governments about the critical role football can play in a country’s progress. The release of the film also created a domino effect on the team’s fortunes.

The positive attention brought by the documentary helped highlight the funding and infrastructure support necessary for the team and the community. This led to significant improvement in training facilities, professional development, and funding to develop the game.

Though the film missed the Oscars cut-off point with a March 2015 theatrical release, the documentary was still nominated for multiple awards, including Best Sports Documentary at the 2015 Sports Emmy Awards, which was a major endorsement. In conclusion, the release of Next Goal Wins was highly anticipated after its festival debut, and the critical and commercial success that followed cemented its place in sports documentary history.

The film’s success helped spur renewed interest in sports in American Samoa, shedding light on cultural, social, and economic issues in the country. Next Goal Wins is a testament to what sports, storytelling, and the human spirit can achieve when they come together.

The film will continue to inspire and bring hope to viewers, and we can’t wait to see how it influences the conversation around sports movies in the coming years. Next Goal Wins is an inspiring documentary that offers an emotional journey for the audience.

The film is an excellent example of how music and sound can heighten the emotional impact of a movie. In this article, we will delve into the soundtrack of Next Goal Wins and how it was woven into the fabric of the documentary.

The soundtrack of Next Goal Wins is an eclectic mix of modern and traditional sounds, skillfully blended together to evoke the emotions of the audience throughout the film. It features music from various genres, including classical music, Samoan hymns, reggae, and hip-hop, with each piece carefully selected to reflect the emotions of the moment.

The director, Mike Brett, spent months searching for the perfect soundtrack and went to great lengths to ensure that it matched the emotions of the film. He collaborated with renowned composer David Schweitzer, who composed original music for the film.

Schweitzer was tasked with composing a score that reflected the different stages of the team’s journey, from the lows of disappointment to the highs of triumph. The use of Samoan hymns within the documentary gives the audience a glimpse into the country’s culture.

The hymns are sung by the Samoan team between games and act as a connecting thread between the audience and the team. They also act as a reminder of the sacrifices that players are making to be out there on the field.

The music adds an extra layer of spirituality, which is deeply rooted in Samoan culture. The Reggae and hip-hop music that plays during the training sessions and the games provides an adrenaline-fueled underscore to the raw energy and emotion that drives the Samoan team.

Reggae music, which originated in Jamaica, strikes a chord with Pacific Islanders because of its cultural significance. The use of Reggae within the film allows for a universal experience in the music that transcends the barriers of culture, language, and geographical location.

The documentarys score is optimistic and motivational, much like the team’s underlying message. The score’s movements and instrumentation reflect the explosive energy of the game and support the film’s tendency towards high-intensity moments, elevating them into something almost spiritual.

The sound design for Next Goal Wins is also skillfully crafted, with sounds expertly mixed to create a sense of immersion. The sound for the football games is rich and vibrant, placing viewers right in the middle of the action.

The sound of the ball hitting the net in the first win of the team is perhaps the most gratifying sound in the documentary, and it is made all the more impactful by the sound design. In conclusion, the soundtrack to Next Goal Wins is a unique blend of traditional and modern music that resonates with the audience at multiple levels.

The music complements and amplifies the emotional impact of the team’s journey and serves to connect the audience intimately with American Samoan culture. The documentary’s sound design is as seamless and masterful as its soundtrack, creating a sonic world that matches the film’s emotional arc.

Overall, the soundtrack enhances the cinematic experience for viewers, making the journey into the unknown territory of the American Samoan football team all the more engaging. In conclusion, Next Goal Wins is a triumph of the human spirit, a celebration of unity, and a moving testament to the power of sport and perseverance.

The film’s exceptional production, storytelling, and soundtrack help to highlight the cultural and social significance of the American Samoan football team’s journey. The documentary has become a cultural touchstone, not just within the sports community but also to a worldwide audience.

With increased visibility and attention, the team has been able to gain more support and is now poised for greater success in the world of football.


Q: What was the American Samoan football team’s previous record?

A: They were considered the worst international football team in history, with no wins in over 30 years.

Q: Who directed the documentary?

A: The documentary was co-directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison. Q: Where was the documentary released?

A: The documentary premiered at the 2014 Tribeca Film Festival, and it was subsequently acquired by Fox Sports and Netflix. Q: What is the documentary’s message?

A: The documentary’s message is of resilience, courage, unity, and perseverance. Q: What type of music is featured in the soundtrack?

A: The soundtrack features an eclectic mix of traditional and modern Samoan hymns, reggae, hip-hop, and orchestral music.

Q: What impact did the documentary have on

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