Six stories intertwine in this dramatic examination of the social impact of soccer across the world. In South Africa Danny Jordaan is a former ANC activist and CEO of the South African Football Association, who has successfully led the bid to host the 2010 World Cup. He firmly believes it will help to boost the country's infrastructure, overcome the legacy of apartheid and transform South Africa's identity on the world stage. In the United States, a team grapples with American indifference to the sport, while a collective of hardcore fans mobilize to support their journey to the World Cup. In Iran, Mahin Gorji, a female sports journalist, is the most prominent soccer commentator in the region, even though her country's law forbids women to attend matches. The Argentina story features pro player Fabian Ferraro, who returns home to start a street soccer team in Moreno, a slum of Buenos Aires, helping youths overcome the devastating impact of poverty. In England, Pakistani player Zeshan Rehman, the first South Asian player in the Premiere League for Fulham, is inspired to return to his native country, where he feels he can be of the most benefit to Pakistanis. In Senegal, former Arsenal player Patrick Vieira creates a program helping youths who are often swept up in a troubling version of modern slavery-taken off the streets at early ages to play in Europe for very little money. Juxtaposing these remarkable stories with thrilling game footage, renowned filmmaker Michael Apted takes us on a journey to the 2006 World Cup and skillfully reveals the remarkably transformative power of this sport.
MICHAEL APTED has helmed an extensive list of feature films and documentaries in his 35 years as a director. Born in England in 1941, Apted studied law and history at Cambridge University before turning to directing. Apted's feature films include Triple Echo, Stardust, Academy Award®-winning Coal Miner's Daughter, Gorky Park, Gorillas in the Mist, Nell, The World is Not Enough and Enigma. Although Apted has directed a number of documentaries, his most widely-recognized work is the UP series, which followed the lives of 14 Britons from the age of seven. It aired in England in 2005 and highlighted the 50th anniversary of British television channel ITV. Most recently, Apted was nominated for a Director's Guild of America award for his directorial work on the first three episodes of the critically-acclaimed HBO series Rome.