The American Samoa men’s soccer team is a true underdog story and now it’s being portrayed in Taika Waititi’s new movie Next Goal Wins. The team was considered one of the most unlikely teams to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, but they managed to achieve their goal.
“I watched the ‘Next Goal Wins’ documentary,” Waititi told Morning Footy about why he went ahead with the project. “I think the fact that it was a true story and it was one of the greatest underdog sports movies I’d seen. It was also the idea that it was about Pacific Islanders and that they were the heroes of the movie.”
Waititi also noted that he was drawn to the film because of how the team overcame adversity. The American Samoa national team was able to persevere and reach its final goal despite losing to Australia 31-0 in a 2002 World Cup qualifier.
The film focuses on Dutch-American manager Thomas Rongen and his efforts to try and get the American Samoa national team to qualify for the World Cup. It stars Michael Fassbender as Rongen, as well as Oscar Kightley, Will Arnett and Elisabeth Moss.
“I think the movie will resonate with everyone,” Waititi said. “Over the last few years, we have been constantly reminded how hard life is and how mean people can be to each other. The great thing about sport is that it brings people together. They are people from different places and backgrounds with a common goal and that is to you enjoy the sport.”
“Next Goal Wins” is now in theaters everywhere.
“Falls down a lot. Unapologetic alcohol guru. Travel specialist. Amateur beer trailblazer. Award-winning tv advocate. Hipster-friendly twitter aficionado”