Tagline: Every Dream Has A Beginning
Plot: Like every kid, Santiago Munez has a big dream. But unlike every kid, he’s given the rare opportunity to make that dream come true—if he’s willing to put his fears aside, travel thousands of miles from home, and hold his own with some of the best in the world. The intense pressure and personal sacrifice prove costly for Santiago on his quest—but will they be enough to keep this gifted, determined young athlete and fledgling hero from his ultimate “Goal”?
When Santiago crossed the border into America at the age of 10, he had two things in his possession: his football and a tattered picture of the World Cup. Working menial jobs while growing up in Los Angeles, Santiago’s (Kuno Becker) passion was playing football. Convincing his father that he could be an international football star was another story: “There are two types of people in this world,” declared the elder Munez, “People in big houses, and people like us who cut their lawns and wash their cars.” But when Brit Glen Foy (Stephen Dillane), an amiable former football player and sometime scout spots Santiago at a local L.A. match, he recognizes a deft, fast and brave footballer—the kind of talent that the glamorous English Premier League Club, Newcastle United, is hungry for.
Now thrust into a foreign land where football is
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...is a rags-to-riches sports saga containing all the usual elements, arranged in the usual ways, and yet it's surprisingly effective.
--Roger Ebert (Chicago Sun-Times)
No points for originality, but Goal! scores three valuable stars for its warmth and wit.
--Liz Beardsworth (Empire Online)
...Add to this Nivola's considerable charm as the scoundrel with the huge heart, and all in all you have a fine, if undemanding, time at the movies. Let's hope so: Goal! 2: Living the Dream has already been shot, and Goal! 3 is in pre-production. Goal!, it's not just an appealing sports cliché, it's a franchise.
--PAM GRADY (Reel.com)
If you've ever seen another sports movie, you've seen Goal! But if you haven't, and you just adore English football, this extended infomercial for FIFA might eke out just a little cheer. In spite of its promising title, Goal! is decidedly nil-nil.
--Eric Meyerson (FilmCritic.com)
...As a piece of entertainment, it works just about well enough to sell some tickets, but as the opening chapter of a franchise it's somewhat disappointing and one wonders just how much return traffic the sequel will inspire.
--Joe Utichi (FilmFocus.co.uk)
An against-all-odds fairy tale of the hoariest kind, Goal! The Dream Begins runs through sports movie clichés with all the subtlety, style, and originality of a kick to the shins....
--Nick Schager (SlantMagazine.com)