Any team with Thor on its roster is likely to win. Just ask the Asgardians, the Avengers, the Revengers, and Marvel’s accountants. But Taika Waititi’s next movie isn’t about a superhero team. And it definitely didn’t have anyone like the God of Thunder to lead it. Instead, the Love & Thunder director will tell the story of a very real squad that had a soccer coach who didn’t want to be its coach. That might not sound like a fun story, but Next Goal Wins looks like it will find success on the pitch with a classic underdog story. In the second trailer, Waititi talks a bit about what drew him to the film.
Next Goal Wins retells the true story (“that pretty much happened”) when a reluctant coach was sent to lead the American Samoa soccer team after a historic embarrassment. Seriously historic. Here’s the film’s official synopsis from Searchlight Pictures:
Directed by Academy Award Winner Taika Waititi (Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok), Next Goal Wins follows the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their brutal 31-0 FIFA loss in 2001. With the World Cup Qualifiers approaching, the team hires down-on-his-luck, maverick coach Thomas Rongen (Michael Fassbender) hoping he will turn the world’s worst soccer team around in this heartfelt underdog comedy.
Waititi appears in the film (did you spot him in the trailer?) and also co-wrote the script with Iain Morris (The Inbetweeners). It’s based on the 2014 award-winning British documentary of the same name. The film also features some very famous figures. Starring alongside Fassbender are Elisabeth Moss, Will Arnett, and Rhys Darby. Joining them are Oscar Kightley, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, Kaimana, David Fane, Beulah Koale, and Chris Alosio.
If it feels like you first heard about this movie a hundred years ago, you basically did. It was first announced during the “before times” in 2019. Some “historic” things have happened since then. But they weren’t nearly as fun as this movie looks like it will be when it arrives in theaters on November 17.
Originally published on April 26, 2023.