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Movie version of ‘The Next Goal Wins’ set for release in November

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Pago Pago, AMERICAN SAMOA — The Next Goal Wins finally has its official movie release date — Nov. 17, 2023. Based on the documentary by the same name that premiered on April 19, 2014 at the Tribeca Film Festival, the announcement was posted by Kiwi Oscar winning director Taika Waititi on his social media accounts.

The original documentary by Mike Brett and Steve Jamison chronicles the national football team of American Samoa as they rebrand themselves from being known as the weakest football team in the world and to qualify for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.

To help turn their luck around, the Football Federation of American Samoa hires Dutch born, American based coach Thomas Rongen. Rongen to train the team and introduces players based overseas until they can acquit themselves with pride at the qualifiers at the OFC World Cup Qualification.

The documentary’s star, Jaiyah Saelua who made history as the first openly non-binary and trans woman to play in a FIFA World Cup qualifier and then in the OFC Champions League was a part of the American Samoa team and her achievements have paved the way for greater inclusion and acceptance of non-binary and transgender athletes in the world of football (soccer).

Oceania Football Center wrote that despite facing numerous challenges and obstacles throughout her career, Saelua has remained steadfast in her commitment to the sport she loves. Her story serves as an inspiration to people all over the world, reminding us of the power of sports to break down barriers and unite us all.

The star-studded cast will feature Kaimana, a fa’afine actor, as Jaiyah Saelua and American actor Michael Fassbender will star as Coach Thomas Rongen alongside Oscar Kightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Uli Latukefy, Rachel House, Rhys Darby, Will Arnett and Elisabeth Moss. Filming for the movie began in November 2019.