“Next Goal Wins” – The True Spirit of the Game (Documentary Film)


Next Goal Wins Directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison “Without a Win. Without a Goal. But Never Without Hope.”– Tagline The beauty of the FIFA World Cup is that every single officially recognized nation has an equal chance to qualify for the World Cup.This means that even the smallest of nations can enter teams on which the hopes and dreams of their nation’s will rise and fall with every result. American Samoa, the small pacific nation, is one such team… 

The upcoming documentary, “Next Goal Wins” follows the American Samoa National Team in their journey towards World Cup 2014 in Brazil. American Samoa only began to enter FIFA World cup qualifying in 2002 and had not won a game or scored a goal in an official qualification match in their entire history. 

The documentary follows them on their journey to bring glory to their island nation and to lay the ghosts of a traumatic defeat which has haunted some of their players, especially the goalkeeper, Nicky Salapua, for nearly a decade. (Where a passport issue meant only one senior player could take the field with some teenagers…the rest is history……) 

Patience is always rewarded and under their new manager, Thomas Ronge and with a team made up of part-time players and university students, they achieved a historical victory over Tonga and a respectable draw with the Cook Islands. 

Trailer Of course, sports reflects life and from the preview, it seems that the piece delves deeper than just the game; it reflects the hopes and aspirations of the part-time players who play for love of their nation and their motivations to keep on playing even in the most difficult and trying of circumstances; of players who travel long distances and pay out of their own pocket with the knowledge that securing a victory…any victory is a virtual long shot……Of a unity and comradeship which can only be forged on the playing field and of unique circumstances. 

Sports is a great meritocracy and “Next Goal Wins” looks to capture some of the spirit, sportsmanship, hope and passion which makes football, the world's most popular game. 

When the world focuses on Brazil in 2014, the players of American Samoa can seemingly seek contentment that they gave it their best shot………. Really looking forward to this one……….. 

By Christopher KL Lau

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