Next Goal Wins (NR)
Documentary 90 min. April 25, 2014
They're not even expected to climb on the right continent.
The team faces two deficits that seem insurmountable: Their territory has little budget to develop talent, and they're still technically American, which means world-class football isn’t what the kids are dreaming of. The players are, though. We meet Nicky Salapu, the wise-eyed goaltender who gave up those 31 points -- he says he regrets nothing.
Fortunately, someone's got a dream, which leads to the arrival of Dutch football coach Thomas Rongen, a wiry, shouty type brought in to prepare the team for the qualifying rounds of the 2014 World Cup.
You can anticipate the culture clashes and training montages to come. Eventually, Rongen and his players come to understand each other, and the qualifying matches for this year's cup turn out to be tense, exciting games, with the scrappy Samoan squad playing their hearts out. If you find other people worth your time and attention, Next Goal Wins will stir you.