GOAL! The Incredible Journey

GOAL! The Incredible Journey


This is the most unlikely bunch of athletes that have ever represented the U.S. in an international competition. Meet the USA Women’s soccer team for the 2013 Homeless World Cup: The Striker, Angelina, is a 37-years-old grandmother with emphysema from her old crack habit; Goalkeeper Maria is an ex-prostitute; Gina, a former gang member, is prone to epileptic seizures; Kay was kicked out of her home and now sleeps in cars; And Eliana, the team’s Captain, is a recovering drug addict trying to regain the trust and love of her children.

To get to the Homeless World Cup, the women leave their shelters and lives at the margins of society in Minneapolis, Charlotte, or Sacramento and embark on a life-changing journey. But their story begins earlier, as they play in local homeless teams while struggling to put their lives back on track, go back to school or resume custody over the children they barely know. Scenes on and off the pitch bring into focus how being part of a team helps them improve their lives.

They are part of  Street Soccer USA, an initiative in 18 U.S. cities that uses sport as a tool for personal transformation. Combining the opportunity to play soccer with assistance in obtaining jobs, education, and housing, the program boasts a 75% success rate. Once a year, all the teams head out to New York, where they compete for the USA Cup in front of huge crowds at Times Square (street soccer uses a small court).

For the players selected to the national team, the journey continues. Traveling to Poland, host of the 2013 Homeless World Cup, they meet and compete against homeless soccer teams representing 50 countries. The unfamiliar surroundings, language and food, the rigorous daily schedule—not to speak of the grueling matches against superior teams—are stressful. Yet through the international language of soccer they discover that others are even worse off than they are.

Eliana rises to the challenges of leadership as the captain. Angelina finds untapped reserves of stamina despite her physical aches. Kay writes new rap songs.

Will they be able to use the self-confidence inspired by this incredible journey to take control over their lives? Can soccer actually help people out of homelessness? At a time when the U.S. homeless population has reached its highest numbers since the Great Depression, innovative approaches are more needed than ever before.

Goal ! The Incredible Journye weaves together two narrative arcs – the sports drama of team competition and the inspiring personal journeys of Maria, Angelina and their teammates. The film explores the transformative power of sports through a cast of unforgettable characters.