12 kick-ass soccer movies to watch instead of the World Cup (2024)

12 kick-ass soccer movies to watch instead of the World Cup (1)

Movies to watch instead of the World CupCredit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

When I was in elementary school, my parents thought it'd be a great idea to get me, an uncoordinated only child, involved in some Team Sports. One of those sports just so happened to be soccer.

I attended practices, ran my little asthmatic lungs out, and poured my sweat and tears (no blood, come on, people) into the sport. Sadly, my cleats rarely touched dirt, and whenever they got anywhere near the ball, I committed one of the ultimate sports sins: I froze.

Needless to say, I stopped playing soccer and never followed the sport professionally. Because of these circumstances, I'm sorry to say I do not care about the FIFA World Cup. What I DO care about, however, are great soccer movies.


A 'clairvoyant' cat has predicted who will win the World Cup opening match

If you, too, dream of celebrating the World Cup without the pressure and commitment that comes with watching professional soccer, I've got you covered!

Trust me, you can still get in the spirit of the game by dusting off your participation trophies and watching these excellent 12 soccer movies instead. And if you are a fan of the World Cup, well, then you can watch these movies to keep your soccer obsession going.

The greatest soccer movies of all time

Let’s kick things off (ha ha) by diving right into five soccer movies I can confidently say are wonderful. Shall we?

1. She's the Man

The top spot obviously goes to one of the greatest sports films of all time,She’s the Man.The 2006 modern-daysportsy version of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night stars Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum. After the girl’s soccer team at her school gets cut, Bynes, who plays the utterly hilarious Viola Hastings, disguises herself as her brother Sebastian to join the boy’s soccer team and prove her skills. 12/10 wouldrecommend. Gets better every time.

2. Air Bud: World Pup

Next, we have Air Bud: World Pup — a 2000 film that clearly could not be more perfect for the occasion. The beloved Buddy (RIP) proves he’s not just a basketball star (spoiler alert: he's good at all athletics) when he joins the local soccer team and helps them in the championship playoffs.If you like sports and playful pups, this is the pick for you!

3. Switching Goals

Switching Goals is a timeless Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen classic. The 1999 tale of two soccer-playing twins placed on different teams offers up the ultimate competition. I mean, what could compare to a good, old-fashioned sibling rivalry on the field?

4. Bend It Like Beckham

If you're looking for a film about impressive soccer skills, strong friendship, and crushes on a coach, Bend It Like Beckham is here for you. The 2002 film stars Parminder Nagra as Jess Bhamra, an 18-year-old whose strict Indian parents won't let her play soccer. With the help of Keira Knightley's character, Jules Paxton, the two bring a team to greatness.

5. 1/4 of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants

The 2005 film The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants — based on the novel by Ann Brashares — tells the story of four long-distance best friends sharing a pair of jeans that just so happens to fit them all perfectly. One of the girls, Bridget, played by Blake Lively, is a soccer player, which makes this a totally acceptable movie to watch during the World Cup!

Soccer movies I've never actually seen that look slightly promising

Now let's take a look at a few films that I can't personally vouch for, but which look like perfectly fine ways to participate in World Cup mania.

6. Kicking and Screaming

This 2005 comedy starring Will Ferrell deals with a whole lot of competition, both on the field and in the family. When Ferrell's character, Phil Weston, becomes head coach of his son's soccer team, he learns he'll have to compete against a rival team led by his own father, Buck. Things presumably get very messy.

7. Playing for Keeps

This 2012 soccer film stars Gerard Butler as a retired player turned coach of his son's team. Though lots of soccer moms are crushin' on him, Butler's character's heart still appears to belong to his ex-wife, played by Jessica Biel. Sounds like some solid rom-com potential.

8. Her Best Move

Her Best Move is the 2007 coming-of-age story of Sara, a 15-year-old who just wants to live her messy teen life but is blessed/cursed with insanely good soccer skills and therefore has to play on her dad's team. (Note: The dad in this film is Scott Patterson, aka Luke Danes from Gilmore Girls, so that alone makes it worth the watch).

9. The Big Green

Walt Disney Pictures tells the story of a 1995 soccer miracle that takes place in the town of Elma, Texas. Talented and hip new teacher Anna Montgomery (Olivia d'Abo) teaches her kids to play with the help of Sheriff Tom Palmer (Steve Guttenberg.) Note: I see some familiar faces from The Sandlot, which means it's probably another great sports film.

Movies ~actual soccer fans~ recommend

Because I want you to have the best Not Watching The World Cup But Still Watching Soccer experience, I took it upon myself to ask real soccer fans in the Mashable office for their movie recommendations. Here's a selection of films they feel did the sport justice.

10. The Damned United

First up is the 2009 drama The Damned United. The film, set in England during the '60 and '70s, tells the story of the challenging/complex/legendary 44 days that football (soccer) player Brian Clough (played by Michael Sheen) spent managing Leeds United. It also seems fairly funny from the trailer.

11. Victory

Don't you feel like there should be a 1980s soccer film starring Sylvester Stallone? Welp, there is! Stallone plays Captain Robert Hatch in the 1981 drama Victory, which shows soccer as it's played in a German POW camp. Under unusual circumstances, a German National team of Nazis competes against a group of their prisoners of war for the win.

12. Fever Pitch

My colleague Kellen recently brought to my attention the fact that there is a Fever Pitch other than the not so great baseball film starring Drew Barrymore and Jimmy Fallon, and it's about soccer. The 1997 movie stars A YOUNG COLIN FIRTH as a teacher/coach, and that's it! You had me at "young Colin Firth!"

Happy World Cup, everyone!

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12 kick-ass soccer movies to watch instead of the World Cup (2)

Nicole Gallucci

Nicole is a Senior Editor at Mashable. She primarily covers entertainment and digital culture trends, and in her free time she can be found watching TV, sending voice notes, or going viral on Twitter for admiring knitwear. You can follow her on Twitter @nicolemichele5.

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Soccer Movies Instead of the World Cup

The article "Movies to watch instead of the World Cup" discusses a selection of soccer-themed movies for individuals who may not be interested in the FIFA World Cup but still want to enjoy the spirit of the game through cinematic experiences. The article features a list of recommended soccer movies, including "She's the Man," "Air Bud: World Pup," "Switching Goals," "Bend It Like Beckham," and "The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants," among others. Additionally, it includes suggestions from real soccer fans for movies that capture the essence of the sport, such as "The Damned United," "Victory," and "Fever Pitch."

The article provides a brief overview of each movie, highlighting their plot, themes, and appeal to soccer enthusiasts. It also offers insights into the cultural significance and entertainment value of these films, catering to both soccer fans and those seeking alternative entertainment during the World Cup season.

The author, Nicole Gallucci, presents the article in a light-hearted and engaging manner, sharing personal anecdotes and recommendations while maintaining a friendly and relatable tone throughout the piece. The inclusion of personal experiences and recommendations from colleagues adds a personal touch to the article, making it more appealing to readers.

Overall, the article serves as a comprehensive guide for individuals interested in exploring soccer-themed movies as an alternative to the World Cup, providing a diverse selection of films that cater to various preferences and interests within the genre.

12 kick-ass soccer movies to watch instead of the World Cup (2024)


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