Soccer is the most popular sport on the planet. This isn't hyperbolic fanboy speak. It's just a fact. So, why is it that the most popular sport in the world has such a sorry representation on the big screen? American Football has some iconic films. Basketball and baseball have some classics. But, soccer? If it's not a rag-tag comedy with a bunch of kids that has nothing to with real life soccer, then it's just not good entertainment.
There have been plenty of attempts to make good soccer films. One of my favorite films in the genre is The Damned United, the story of Brian Clough's tumultuous tenure as Leeds United manager. For my money, it's the best pure soccer movie there is.
I saw a trailer for a new soccer film over the weekend that blew me away. Pele is one of the greatest soccer players ever. Until Lionel Messi came along to transform the sport, he was considered the absolute best. It only makes sense to make a film about his life and career. That's exactly what IFC Films is doing.
Hitting theaters on May 6th then Video On-Demand a week later, Pele: Birth Of A Legend tells the story of Brazil's most famous and decorated soccer player from his childhood all the through his legendary career.
It's no coincidence that this film will be coming out just in time for Copa America Centenario. They'll be hoping that the hype for that special tournament will drive interest to this unique project. Hopefully the final product lives up to its trailer, because the soccer world could really use a great film.