Chasing the Dream: The Global Journey of Soccer, Top Ten Documentaries

19 de juny de 2023

"Football is the ballet of the masses." - Dmitri Shostakovich, Russian composer and pianist.


Soccer, or football as it's known outside of North America, is more than just a sport. It's a universal language, a shared passion that transcends borders, cultures, and socio-economic backgrounds. With the new arrival of Leo Messi at Inter Miami,  he will have his own streaming documentary series. Soccer moves the masses. Documentaries and docuseries have long been fascinated by this global phenomenon, capturing the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of aspiring footballers from every corner of the world.

The journey to becoming a professional football player is often fraught with challenges. From the dusty fields of South America to the war-torn landscapes of the Middle East, these stories are as diverse as they are inspiring. They reflect not only the individual's pursuit of their dream but also the socio-political realities of their respective regions.


messi holding the world cup

From the neighborhood field to the old Continent courts: Top Ten best soccer documentaries:



Next Goal Wins

a soccer team in green uniform training

This inspiring documentary follows the American Samoa national football team, once considered the worst team in the world, in their effort to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Through the lens of the camera, the determination, team spirit, and passion of these players are captured as they battle against adversity and defy expectations.


The Two Escobars

four men in a water slider

Available on Netflix, this gripping docudrama explores the intertwined lives of Colombian footballer Andrés Escobar and drug lord Pablo Escobar, against the backdrop of Colombia's turbulent history. The documentary offers a deep insight into how football and organized crime became intertwined in a country marked by violence and social inequality.


Sunderland 'Til I Die

a general plan of a soccer field

This Netflix docuseries offers a behind-the-scenes look at the highs and lows of Sunderland AFC, a football club in the English Football League. Through intimate interviews and archival footage, the series captures the passion of the fans, the pressure on the players, and the club's struggle to stay afloat amidst financial adversity.


Football for Better or Worse

two women in a soccer match

This documentary delves into the world of women's football in Sweden, highlighting the struggles and achievements of the players. Through personal interviews and archival footage, the film highlights the challenges faced by women in the sport and their fight for equality.


In the Hands of the Gods

four men with a soccer ball on their heads

This film follows five British freestyle footballers as they travel across the Americas to meet their idol, Diego Maradona. Throughout their journey, they face a series of challenges and experiences that test their skill, determination, and team spirit.



four soccer players with various balls pose

When it comes to building successful soccer teams, pre-season is a critical time. It's the perfect time for the coach to create a team identity, set standards, develop effective training habits, and reinforce behaviors. This documentary follows a Polish Women's Soccer League team during the pre-season weeks when they will have to build the values necessary to achieve the lofty goals they have set for themselves. Beautifully photographed in black and white, the film is a must-see for any lover of the world's most popular sport.


Fly Away

a soccer player kicks the ball

This documentary follows two young men in Mali who dream of becoming professional soccer players to be able to go to Europe. But life has another destiny in store for them. DIABY and DRISSA live in Bamako. They are best friends, they are 17 years old, and they play football in the most prestigious club of the city: the DJOLIBA.  They both dream of going to Europe to become professionals. But, to each, destiny reserves a different fate.


The Celts

two soccer players talk

Every weekend the Celts football fans escape their washed-up small town blues by cheering for a team from a nearby village. Although their hometown boasts a successful team that competes in Croatia's national league, these passionate football fans give their hearts and their support to a village team that plays in regional leagues. Over the course of one football season we follow the fortunes of the Celts supporters and their chosen team, immersing ourselves in the green and white rhapsody of jerseys, scarves and other fan paraphernalia, along with the mythology and folklore of The Celts.


The Other Chelsea - A Story from Donezk

a blond man greets

Donetsk, a city with a million inhabitants deep in Eastern Ukraine, is the centre of the Donbass coal basin. Here most people work for low wages in run down mines, while a few make a lot of money. No matter which side of the social divide you are on, coming from Donetsk you will almost certainly be an opponent of the Orange Revolution and a fan of the local football team, Shakhtar Donetsk. Billionaire Akhmetov invests heavily in the club, which is becoming a major European force during the football season followed by the film. Yet this sporting success funded by an oligarch’s fortune only seems to highlight the wider social and political stagnation of the region. Off the pitch, the outlook appears bleak...


Hotel and a Ball

 three kids with soccer skills and a dog

Two very different types of tenants inhabit the characteristic fixed shot of Latvian director Laila Pakalnina. On the one hand, the fertile and athletic bodies of young and adults who exercise on a sports field in a small town. On the other, the calm and rested presences of elderly people who stay in a small hotel.  This two-sided landscape is united through the window of one of the hotel rooms, a kind of natural frame that Pakalnina finds among the architecture of the building. This decision gives room for an observational inquiry into the concepts of space and body. Some teenagers playing soccer. A training session of the local weightlifting team. A sleeping guest who snores. A maid vacuuming the carpet. 


These documentaries and docuseries offer a compelling glimpse into the world of soccer, capturing the dreams, struggles, and triumphs of those who live and breathe the beautiful game. They remind us that football is more than just a sport; it's a microcosm of society, reflecting our shared human experiences in all their complexity and beauty.


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