The heartwarming documentary about the worst football (soccer) team in the world, American Samoa. Not Samoa Samoa, the other guys. Just kidding, we love you Amerika Samoa.
Next Goal Wins, the 2014 British sport documentary directed by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison, chronicles the national football team of American Samoa in their efforts to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup- and improve their world-ranking. American Samoa’s football team is an international laughing stock, seriously the opening montage of footage from their record-breaking 31-nil loss game against Australia in 2001 is just sad. However despite not having won in over a decade the team continues to stay together. For it’s the love of the game itself that keeps this ragtag team- which includes the goalie (Nicky Salapu) from that faithful match against Oz and a fa’afafine (my favourite person in the doco, Jaiyah Saelua)- together as they train for the next World Cup and a chance to redefine their international rep.
With the help of Dutch maverick Thomas Rongen, who flies in from the US to coach them for their World Cup 2014 qualifying matches, and the fighting spirit of a team with nothing to lose and everything to gain, Amerika Samoa’s team shows how defeat can be character-building. I know, you should see our league team’s ranking.
Check out the trailer below if you haven’t seen it yet and grab the DVD, it’ll make you feel warm and fuzzy and perhaps want to triumphantly punch the air once or twice. The visuals are stunning and there’s a genuine feeling of admirable relentlessness you gain after watching, and despite the predictable outcome you’re left with an overall sense of pride- even if you’re not much of a football (or American Sa) fan.