June 2014 was the FIFA World Cup, held in Brazil. To get ready, we watched these 11 multicultural soccer movies for kids– from literally all corners of the globe! Foreign films for kids about “football” that will excite and inspire the entire family.
11 Soccer Movies for Kids from Around the World!
I’ve started with movies that are appropriate for early elementary-aged, and moved to middle/high school. The last few are documentary movies about soccer that kids might enjoy.
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Carlitos y el Campo de los Sueños (Spain, 2008).
Carlitos, a young boy living in an orphanage, might break some rules as he fights for his right to play the one thing he loves: soccer.
Shaolin Soccer (Hong Kong, 2001)
This quirky story of underdog kung-fu-turn-soccer players is hilarious, with entertaining special effects for kids age 8+. Although amazon says it is PG-13, the rating we saw was PG so there must be a mistake on amazon.
Africa United (UK, 2010)
This story follows three Rwandan children on their epic journey through seven countries to achieve their ultimate dream: to take part in the opening ceremony of the 2010 Football World Cup in Johannesburg. This is one of those feel good soccer movies for kids that you won’t forget!
The Cup (Bhutan/Australia, 1999; Written by Tibetan Buddhist lama Khyentse Norbu).
Two young football-crazed Tibetan refugees (who are also new monks in a remote Himalayan monastery in India) will try anything to bring in a television for the monastery to watch the 1998 World Cup final. There are incredible curriculum guides and lessons on Journeys in Film for The Cup.
Offside! (Iran, 2006)
Although women are not allowed in the soccer stadium, a group of ambitious girls manage to sneak in- until they are caught held in punishment, guarded by male soldiers their own age. This lively film was partially filmed during the actual match between Iran and Bahrain (in 2005) that qualified Iran to go to the World Cup.
Bend It Like Beckham (UK/Germany, 2002)
This comedy is about an 18-year-old daughter of Punjabi Sikhs in London who loves soccer. Despite the fact that her parents have forbidden that she play (because she is a girl), she still joins a local team and gets to the championship. Note that this is PG-13, and parents should preview it first, and decide if it is appropriate for your kids (or fast forward certain bits)..
Goal! The Dream Begins (US, 2006)
Although not a foreign film for those of us that live in the US, this film tells a global story: an undocumented Mexican immigrant in the US gets to try out with English premier league club Newcastle, and achieve a lifelong dream. This film is rated PG-13, and should be previewed by parents, because you know your kids best. You can watch the whole movie here on youtube. Here’s the preview:
Pelada Documentary (2010, US)
Pelada is a documentary about 2 soccer players who travel to 25 countries and play pick-up soccer (called pelada in Portuguese)- from a Bolivian jail to the streets of Tehran. Not only are the images stunning, but you can feel their love for the game, that unites cultures around the world. This is one of the soccer movies for kids that really exposes us to the cultural aspects.
Changing the Game Documentary
6 teens, 3 continents, and their unique stories around soccer. From Israel/Palestine, to South Africa, to Philadelphia, USA, the teens common love of soccer unites them as they face their difficult struggles. We heard that this movie is set to be released before the World Cup in June, but so far it is not available to watch. Bookmark or pin this to save for later when it is ready!
Kick Like a Girl Documentary (2008, US)
This short HBO documentary film shows how an 8 year old girls soccer team “The Mighty Cheetahs” competes in the boys division.
Short Film: Koh Panyee, Thailand
If you haven’t seen this, watch it right here, right now how kids on a tiny island in Thailand develop a soccer pitch and team when the odds are against them. Such an inspiring story that urges us to believe that nothing is impossible!
Follow our World Cup for Kids pinterest board and Kid World Citizen on facebook for many more World Cup lessons.
mia wenjen says
What an awesome list of movies! We only know Bend It Like Beckham but all my kids play soccer and follow FC Barcelona! Thanks!!
What a great collection of films. I got ‘The Cup’ on DVD a few months ago and am really looking forward to watching it.
Natalia Paz says
I am really excited about watching these movies with my kids. We are counting the days until world cup begins. Also, I love the fact that you will include people from other countries that are going to share with us their cultures. This will be a great addition to our summer co op. thank you!