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DG Approved: The Soccermen

If you think the new England manager has got a difficult task then try building a team in the middle of nowhere, from nothing, without funding and on a waterlogged field inhabited by hundreds of toads and dogs. This was the reality British football journalist Paul Watson and his filmmaker mate Matthew Conrad were faced with during the making of a new documentary called The Soccermen, which saw them turn a non-existent team of underdogs into true winners.

Unhappy with the British weather and their (non-existent) careers, Watson and Conrad decide to embark on a mission to become succesful managers of a football team, any football team. After some midnight discussions and research the two friends stumbled upon what they thought was the perfect target; a Pacific Island called Pohnpei. However, its national team did not exactly have a great reputation, in fact, some had even called it “the worst soccer team in the world”.

On arrival the filmmakers found one player – who, thank god, spoke English – and a ruined pitch. And what came after wasn’t any easier… “Recruiting players and bridging the enormous cultural gap to instill a professional discipline needed to compete at international level wasn’t any easier,” writes Conrad on the film’s Kickstarter page. “Our star player was run over and almost killed by a drunk driver, our funding repeatedly fell through, I got 3rd degree sun burns, Paul got boils – yes boils, …and we didn’t have a working toilet.”

Nevertheless, despite the Island’s 90 per cent obesity rate and the lack of resources they manage to get a 16-men strong team together. And as their mission turns into an obsession, the coaches take their team to the mainland in search of the the island’s first ever victory.

What do they need?

Watson and Conrad already shot the film, created the team and fixed the pitch so there’s no need for you to worry about that anymore. However, they do still need $35,000 to complete the movie by December 2012, this amount includes the costs of the editing, the sound editing and the footage conversion. It will also cover the costs of shipping the donation rewards and the entree fees for various film festivals.

So far the campaign has managed to attract nearly $13.000 and there are still 28 days left for you to help them if you like the idea of the film. As mentioned, you also get great rewards in return for your support which you can check out here.

Why support this project?

“This is a true underdog story in a fantastically quirky and beautiful part of the world,” Conrad writes. This is certainly true but aside from that it also looks hillariously funny and definitely inspiring. Even if you do not have money, tweet, blog and talk about the project and together we can get it made.

For more information on the project check out the film’s website and their Kickstarter campaign.


Written by

Alexandra Zeevalkink is a Dutch-born journalist living in London who founded DocGeeks in August 2011 in order to have a legitimate excuse to watch every documentary under the sun. She freelances for various publications and writes mainly about documentaries and the film production industry. When she is not blogging or watching films, she enjoys theater, photography and reading loads of books. She is always on the look out for potential partnerships with other creative minds.

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