Victory movie - still frame

MLS provides only a brief window each year in which fans can’t catch teams in action, and we happen to be in the midst of one. This, coinciding with the holiday season, makes it an ideal time to stretch out on a couch and watch movies—and we have some suggestions for movies (some recent, some classic) with soccer in them.


WIN!


This 2016 Tribeca Film Festival entrant, "WIN!", from documentarian Justin Webster, looks at the formation and first-year growth of New York City FC. It covers the alliance between Manchester City and the Yankees, the acquisition of world-famous Designated Players David Villa, Andrea Pirlo, and Frank Lampard, and behind-the-scenes preparation as the team worked toward Opening Day 2015, all in a quest to win over soccer fans in one of the world’s largest and most skeptical cities. Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play


Sons of Ben

Need a soccer movie to stream this holiday season? Here are some favorites - //league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/sons-of-ben-still.png

Still frame from "Sons of Ben" - Rothbury Road Productions (2016)


Released in 2015, "Sons of Ben" chronicles one of the most endearing origin stories in American sports history. The Sons of Ben began life as a group of Philadelphia soccer fans who formed a supporters’ group around the idea of an MLS franchise in their city, and they embarked on a campaign that functioned—ultimately successfully—as part performance art and part guerrilla marketing. The movie details some of the serious, poignant stories behind one of the most joyous fan groups in MLS. Available on: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play


The Two Escobars


"The Two Escobars" is a 2010 documentary from Jeff and Michael Zimbalist—widely lauded for its emotional force—looks at the Colombia of the 1990s and the influence that Medellin cartel leader Pablo Escobar had on the nation. But at the title suggests, it also shows how the drug lord’s life was intertwined with Colombian national defender Andres Escobar, whose own goal in a match against the US national team at the 1994 World Cup prematurely knocked out the South American champions and cost the unfortunate player his life. Available on: Netflix, Google Play, YouTube


Next Goal Wins


This 2014 British documentary follows American Samoa’s unlikely quest to qualify for the 2014 World Cup, namely by hiring 1996 MLS Coach of the Year (and current BeIN Sports commentator) Thomas Rongen to lead the squad. Critics found the movie heartening and inspiring for audiences regardless of their engagement with soccer, though soccer fans who know American Samoa once lost an international match 31-0 (to Australia in 2001) will be particularly impressed with what the movie captures. Available on: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube


Pelada


"Pelada" follows former college soccer standouts Luke Boughen and Gwendolyn Oxenham traveling the world to play pickup soccer and record the stories of those who do the same. The film is beautifully shot, with the most fascinating scenes including a prison yard in Bolivia, a dirt rectangle in a rural Kenyan village, and a park in Tehran where hijab-wearing women play a sport traditionally limited in that society to men. Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video


Hillsborough


"Hillsborough", an ESPN 30 for 30 documentary, ably covers one of the most horrific disasters in soccer history: The April 1989 human crush in a Sheffield stadium’s standing terrace that left 96 Liverpool fans dead and years of inquiries to determine who or what was to blame. The incident has not only raised worldwide awareness as to the vitality of fan safety, but the 96 continue to be memorialized as a key component of the club’s identity, including the twin flames and the 96 that currently adorn the neckline on the back of the team jerseys. For soccer fans becoming part of the global community, knowledge of Hillsborough is a solemn duty. Available on: Netflix, iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube


Victory

Need a soccer movie to stream this holiday season? Here are some favorites - //league-mp7static.mlsdigital.net/images/moore-caine-stallone.png

Bobby Moore, Michael Caine, Sylvester Stallone in "Victory" - Paramount Pictures (1981)


A discussion of soccer movies can’t quite be complete without the 1981 classic "Victory", in which a group of Nazi officers decide to stage a propaganda-serving match in occupied Paris, in which an all-star Third Reich team will play a match against an assemblage of Allied POWs. An unlikely trio of Sylvester Stallone, Michael Caine, and Pele anchor a sports and prison escape movie that is more than the sum of its parts (thought its parts appear on paper to be The Longest Yard and Hogan’s Heroes). Available on: iTunes, Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, YouTube