One of the classic stories of U.S. soccer is set to appear in movie theaters across the nation on Thursday night.
Made on a
Even then, the directors didn't bother to ask FIFA for the rights to show footage from the 2010 World Cup and 2009 Confederations Cup, in which DeMerit's U.S. team beat world No. 1 Spain before falling in the final to Brazil. "It was too expensive, so we were going to have to go without it," says Lewis. But then came a moment of serendipity. After the documentary was shown at the Kicking and Screening Soccer Film Festival in New York City in July, the directors met Alexander Klosterkemper, a freelance filmmaker who previously worked as the head of FIFA's World Cup office.
"The film is about more than soccer. It's really a great film about perseverance," says Klosterkemper, who took a DVD of the movie to the World Cup 2014 draw in Brazil two days later and gave it to David Ausseil, the head of FIFA Films. FIFA gets plenty of criticism for the way it's run, but there are a lot of good people doing positive things there, and Ausseil is one of them. He saw the film and agreed to let
"We were moved by what we saw and felt it was a compelling and uplifting story," explains Ausseil. "We thought Jay's story and the work of the producers behind the film embodied what FIFA stands for."
The film now features some of the memorable scenes from the Confederations Cup and World Cup, including Landon Donovan's group-winning goal against Algeria, as well as the U.S. players celebrating in the locker room after the game.
Just getting the movie into theaters is a major accomplishment for the filmmakers, who are hoping word-of-mouth and attendance at nationwide showings on Thursday will help extend the engagements for
As for DeMerit, whose funding helped save the film more than once, he's hoping to drive down to Thursday's showing in Seattle from Vancouver, where he's currently in a 10-day postseason camp with the Vancouver Whitecaps. "The whole project has been amazing," says DeMerit. "To get to where we are now shows what the soccer community here is. It's astonishing how many people have gotten behind it."
And who knows? That group may get even bigger this week.