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Show soccer film at Strand

Category: The Game of Their Lives News
Article Date: April 15, 2005 | Publication: Dover PA | Author: editorial

Posted by: admin

One of the subjects of 'The Game of Their Lives' lives in the Dover area.
Friday, April 8, 2005

It was one the greatest upsets in sports history.
It involved a team of working-class guys thrown together to compete against the world's elite.

And one of the key players was a man who now resides in York County.

It has all the makings of a great sports movie think "Hoosiers" in which a seemingly overmatched team overcomes great obstacles to stun the world.

The story has all the elements of a Hollywood classic.

Except for one thing it's about soccer.

And because of that, it appears that the film made from the true story of the 1950 United States World Cup team will not be shown in York, despite the fact that one of the members of the team, John Souza, is living in the Dover area.

The film, titled "The Game of Their Lives," recounts the story of Mr. Souza's team, how it was thrown together just before the World Cup tournament began and how, beating all odds, defeated a powerhouse British team, 1-0. The same team that produced "Hoosiers" is responsible for bringing this film to the screen, which is appropriate considering the story.

Like the team it chronicles, the movie is an underdog. It was initially scheduled to come out last year, but Hollywood reorganization delayed its release. New management ordered changes. The budget was sliced. The film overcame a lot to make it into theaters.

Unfortunately, it's not going to make into wide release. The studio is screening it in cities that have Major League Soccer franchises mostly because "The Game of Their Lives" is viewed as a soccer movie, and despite the efforts of fans in the United States, soccer is still considered a lower-tier sports in this country.

Everywhere else in the world, soccer is king. Even in the United States, on an amateur level, soccer enjoys some popularity. The U.S. women's Olympic team is well known, having twice won gold medals in 1996 and 2004. Youth and high-school soccer remain popular. But soccer still has a long way to go to be considered a major professional sport in the United States.

Yet, "The Game of Their Lives" tells a story that transcends sports. You didn't have to be a basketball fan to be moved by "Hoosiers." You didn't have to be a Notre Dame fan to root for "Rudy." And you didn't have to be a baseball fan to laugh at "Bull Durham."

And the film has a pretty good pedigree. It was created by writer Angelo Pizzo and director David Anspaugh the team that produced "Hoosiers" and "Rudy." It stars Gerald Butler ("Phantom of the Opera"), Wes Bentley ("American Beauty"), John Rhys-Davies (the "Lord of the Rings" trilogy) and Patrick Stewart (Capt. Picard from the Star Trek TV and film franchise).

The story is a classic. The players were: a hearse driver, a dishwasher, a mailman, a former prisoner of war. One of the players sacrificed his dream of playing Major League Baseball to be on the team. They were thrown together only a few weeks before the World Cup began.

And they beat one of the greatest teams in the world, a British team composed of professional soccer players.

But in York County where one of the guys who pulled off that historic upset resides you're probably going to have to wait for video.

There's an opportunity here.

Perhaps the Strand-Capitol Performing Arts Center could book the film. Make an event out of the night. Invite Mr. Souza for a reception. Connect with youth soccer leagues to sell tickets and perhaps use the screening to raise money for youth soccer programs.

The odds of making this happen are long.

But then, not too many people gave the U.S. soccer team much of a chance in 1950.


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