It is now just one day away, the kickoff to the Soccer FIlm Festival, each film I have seen has been great, please do come out support the event and see some great films this one did not disappoint in the slighest. It follow s a group of young men who set out on a multi national tour as they head off to the most recent FIFA World Cup held in Brazil. As they travel from both nation to nation and city to city they observe how soccer and society affect each other, from the Pura Vida of Costa Rica and beyond.
Their journey begins with a stroll alright more of a really long walk into Mexico, Tijuana to be exact to see a game. The Xolos/Chihuahuas, are a new team, they were created around the same time that the city began to clean up its image. As stated in the movie it is the locals, the younger upcoming generation who seem to be cleaning up the city and its reputation as the team has become a top team not just in the nation but in the region. They recently went far in the Concacaf Champions League, even facing the local New York Red Bulls, a sponsor of Kicking and Screening and their fans bought the lions share of the tickets at Red Bull Arena. At this game I met a man from Mexico, now living in Virginia who is sufffering from ALS, it was on his bucket list to see his team play, luckily I saw him after the game. I was able to get him to just outside of the team's locker room with a lot of help from both the wonderful staff at Red Bull Arena and the on site staff of Concacaf. During his hour plus speaking at length to all who came out of the locker rooom he was able to get his jersey signed by oh so many of the players each giving him plenty of private one-on one time, and his family hours of video for him. From there to Costa Rica where the majority of the time was spent with Heredia, a team that had fallen on difficult times until recently when an American, David Payne and family purchased the team. David for what he has done for the team is now thought of as a Tico, not bad for a Gringo. They then move over from the rabid fans of this team and follow their reccomendation to go see Saprissa, they just won the title over the weekend. The most successful of teams from Costa RIca this was also amazing. Now off to Colombia and America Cali, the storied "diablos" of the nations' soccer with a sinister past, once being on Clintons' list They really get into the story behind their rise, fall and current resurgance. One of the most interesting parts of this whole movie was on the blind Colombian soccer players including a lawyer, they do not use a beeper ball. Chile who have been winning big titles and are on the way to Russia was the next stop as they stopped in on giants Valpariso, a big port city that played a large part in bringing soccer in via the English playing at the port. Next stop Ecuador and their long time coach Dusan Draskovic of all places Yugoslavia, really showed the major social impact that the worlds game may bring to a nation, breaking down walls and other social barriers. Argentina introduced the Bara Bravo a different type of Ultra, they drain the fans and teams of money while adding to the atmosphere operating as a mafia type group as is explained in depth, this I found to be so very interesting. Uruguay who also had a team play in the CCL of late with the Red Bulls and have a the same team coming to Mitchel Park on Long Island soon have a storied history in soccer. The story of them winning the first FIFA World Cup and other successes are laid out in detail, it is rather impressive. Brazil, the ultimate destination for this event what a party in which no less than four cities were visited, each with a different vibe to them. In light of the upcoming World Cup in Russia this movie is particularly relevant and a great one to see to get amped up for the coming games.