NEW YORK – The worst soccer team in the history of international play is the subject of one of the best documentaries at the Tribeca Film Festival.
“Next Goal Wins” tells the story of the American Samoa national soccer team, which lost a match to Australia 31-0 in 2001, the record for the worst drubbing ever, and had never won a single match.
“We went there to study and explore why this team kept playing in the face of almost inevitable defeat," co-director Steve Jamison told FOX411.
“You really don’t find … soccer players who love the game anymore than guys who will play for 17 years with a return of only two goals, and still turn out to play,” co-director Mike Brett added.
“There best ever result was a 4-nil defeat, which they celebrated like it was a win,” Jamison said.
What unfolds is the story of the hapless, but passionate team being paired with a serious Major League Soccer coach ahead of American Samoa’s World Cup qualifying round. The emotional journey taught the filmmakers, who often work with professional soccer teams in Europe, a lot about what winning really means.
“These guys are not playing for the glory of winning, they’re not playing for a pay bonus, they’re not playing for a sponsorship,” Jamison said. “They’re playing just for the love of the sport.”
“Next Goal Wins” has been getting its share of love as well, with Hollywood kicking the tires on a possible dramatic remake, and the filmmakers looking forward to visiting American Samoa again ahead of its next World Cup qualifying tournament.
"Next Goal Wins" opens Friday in Los Angeles (Laemmle Music Hall), New York (Cinema Village) and San Francisco (The Roxie). Any fan can bring the film to their local theater via Gathr Films' Theatrical On Demand program by requesting a screening at www.nextgoalwinsmovie.com.