Soccer and film fans appear to be in for a treat this fall with the upcoming release of Next Goal Wins. A new trailer for the film has been released that gives some background on its story.
The comedy-drama, directed by Academy Award winner Taika Waititi, is based on real events. It’s also an adaptation of the excellent 2014 documentary of the same name. It tells the story of former MLS and USMNT U-20 head coach Thomas Rongen joining the side in their 2014 World Cup Qualifying campaign.
Next Goal Wins stars Michael Fassbender as Rongen, Elizabeth Moss as Gail (Rongen’s wife), and Kaimana as Jaiyah Saelua. Saelua is notable for being a fa’afafine – a third gender in the Samoan culture. This made her the first ever openly non-binary and transgender woman to compete in a FIFA World Cup qualifier.
At the time, ranked as worst team in the world and infamous for their record 31-0 defeat to Australia, American Samoa had yet to win an officially FIFA-recognized match.
Next Goal Wins trailer
Set to ABBA’s “Take a Chance on Me”, this Next Goal Wins trailer is a bit different from most Hollywood previews. It features Waititi himself giving an overview of the film, intermixed with clips from the movie and behind-the-scenes footage.
The director notes “this is the ultimate feel good underdog film”. Anyone familiar with the story of their 2014 qualifying campaign knows that’s not a bold claim. American Samoa didn’t even come close to making the World Cup, but it didn’t matter. The team coming together and the joy of just that first win was one of the most triumphant moments in sports (to this observer, anyway).
While the documentary had its light moments, the new film has a full-on comedy tilt. So we can expect the type of irreverent fun Waititi has become known for.
Next Goal Wins is set to hit theaters on Friday, November 17.
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