A couple weeks ago, my friend recommended a film called Goal! The Dream Begins. Being the soccer lover I am, I decided to watch it, thinking it would be an average movie.
A Goal! The Dream Begins is a film directed by Danny Cannon. It is about Santiago Munoz, also known as Santi, has the dream of many, becoming a professional athlete. Since he was a young boy, he discovered his passion for soccer, but with financial troubles, he never fully focuses on his dream but instead on helping his family. Santi grows up in L.A. with the voice of his father always telling him to be realistic and start his own business. With constant discouragement from his father, Santi never tries to fully pursue his dream that is until a scout Glen, from England, happens to see Santi playing. Glen tells Santi that he will call an agent for the Newcastle soccer team in England. Santi’s hopes lift with the possibility of his dreams coming true. That night he tells his father, grandmother, and younger brother the news and once more is put down by his father, but his grandmother and brother support him. The big game comes and Glen is waiting for the arrival of the agent, as is Santi. The agent does not show and Santi begins to think that maybe his father is right. Glen becomes frustrated with the agent and calls the Newcastle coach in England that same day to tell him about Santi. Glen calls him at 3:30 a.m. England time, forgetting the time difference and he is told that if Santi can come to England, he will have a tryout. Santi is completely excited and begins to save up for a trip. Between helping his father with the gardening business and working in a restaurant, and still playing soccer, Santi almost has enough money for his trip. One day when he comes home from work, he notices his father had gotten the new truck he had been speaking of. Santi knew his father did not have nearly enough money to pay for the truck so he quickly goes and checks his boot, where he stores his money, and realizes his father took all the money. Santi is enraged and confronts his father and he says they were starting their business together, but Santiago tells him no, because he is not going to live his father’s life. Santi’s grandmother overhears this argument and she sells some jewelry she had to purchase Santi’s fairs to England. She tells Santi that he must leave the same day and he does, without saying goodbye to his father. Santi arrives in England, and Glen comes to welcome him and arrange his trial. On the day of his trail, it is raining and the field is muddy, a complete change from the field he plays on in L.A. Santi keeps falling, not accustomed to the new feel of the field. The manager rejects Santi, but Glen convinces him to get another chance, become he was nervous and not fully adjusted. The manager gives Santi a one month trial and goes to pass his medical tests. He meets the nurse and lies about his asthma and manages to pass the test. Everything is starting to look up for Santi when he learns he will be playing on the reserve team for Newcastle. His first game, Santi waits to take out his asthma inhaler when he accidentally drops it, and another player crushes it on purpose. Without his inhaler, Santi does not play well at all, and has a hard time running. After the game, the manager tells Santi that he is off the team. And Santi is devastated and decides to return home. On his way to the airport, Santi shares a cab with Gavin Harris, a player from Newcastle. Harris recognizes Santi and asks what happened. Harris goes to the manager and convinces him to let Santi stay for some more time. Santi, now more comfortable, begins showing his great soccer abilities and is taken off the reserve team. Santi thinks he was removed again but is told by his manager that he doesn’t play for the reserve team anymore, but the first team. Santi is a substitute for one of the players, and when the player gets hurt, Santi gets to play in one of the games. This is Santi’s first game on the first team. Meanwhile his father walks into a restaurant and sees the soccer game is on. His father had never watched Santi play, but stays when he sees his son. His father watches the entire game and Santi scores a goal, winning the game. His father is very proud of his son and yells “That’ my son!” to the other fans in the restaurant, but he never tells his family he was there. He is told he will play for Newcastle’s final game against Liverpool and Santi is very happy. One day when training, Glen tells Santi his grandmother is calling. Santi learns that his father had a heart attack and passed away. The news destroys Santi because he feels he disappointed his father. He decides to return home but at the airport, he stays for the game and does not return home. In the final match of the game, the score is 2-2. Harris is tripped and receives a free shot. Harris tells Santi it’s his shot and Santi scores making the score 3-2 in Newcastle’s favor. Santi’s grandmother and brother were watching the game in the same restaurant that his father had. When Santi scored the last goal, his grandmother said a similar phrase to her son’s, “That’s my grandson!” and two fans that were there for the other game said that they knew because they had seen Santi’s dad watching and was very proud of his son. Santi’s grandmother calls Glen to speak to Santi after the game and congratulates him. She then tells him that his father did watch his game and Santi if overcome with emotions. The film ends with Santi on the field screaming with joy, realizing his dream came true.
One of the aspects I really enjoyed about this film was the soccer game shots. It was interesting to see the difference between an actual soccer game on TV, and a soccer game in a film. Of course in the film, they mostly focused on Santi and other well known characters as opposed to an actual game where everyone is shown. Another part of the soccer scenes that I thought were well done were the moving scenes. There were many parts in the film where they filmed the soccer ball moving and it was fairly easy to keep track of the soccer ball and who had it. I also enjoyed the long shots they filmed when passing the ball. Although there were some minor errors, I thought it was overall a well done film. I would definitely recommend this film to anyone who likes soccer or who just wants to watch a good film.