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Michael Balderston

Next Goal Wins: release date, plot, cast and everything we know about the Taika Waititi sports movie

Michael Fassbender in Next Goal Wins

The underdog story is a classic sports movie trope, but Next Goal Wins may take the cake with its based-on-a-true-story tale of "the world's worst soccer team."

The 2023 new movie hails from one of the more acclaimed directors of the last few years, Taika Waititi. While Waititi has become known for the imaginative movies of Jojo Rabbit, Thor: Ragnarok and Thor: Love and Thunder, the true story and American Samoa setting of Next Goal Wins is more reminiscent of his breakout movies like Hunt for the Wilderpeople. Either way, moviegoers everywhere are going to want to keep their eyes on this one.

With that in mind, we detail everything we know about Next Goal Wins so far right here.

Next Goal Wins release date

Next Goal Wins is scheduled to premiere on November 17.

We've been waiting for a while for this one. First announced in 2019, the movie was given an initial release date of April 21, 2023, before moving it five months to September 22. Then just a few weeks ahead of what would have been its original release date, Searchlight Pictures announced again that it was being pushed to its new date of November 17.

Next Goal Wins plot

Here is the official synopsis for the movie:

"Next Goal Wins follows the American Samoa soccer team, infamous for their brutal 31-0 FIFA loss in 2001. With the World Cup Qualifiers approaching, the team hires down-on-his-luck, maverick coach Thomas Rongen hoping he will turn the world’s worst soccer team around in this heartfelt underdog comedy."

Taika Waititi and Iain Morris wrote the script.

As we've mentioned, the movie is based on the real life American Samoa soccer team. We won't spoil what happens with them here so you can enjoy it in the movie.

Next Goal Wins cast

The cast of Next Goal Wins features a number of well-known Hollywood stars as well as actors that have connections to Samoa heritage to tell this story.

Leading the way is Michael Fassbender, playing coach Thomas Rongen. Fassbender is an Oscar-nominated actor best known for Steve Jobs, Shame and playing the young Magneto in the 2010s X-Men movies. Movie fans haven't seen Fassbender on screen since X-Men: Dark Phoenix in 2019, though he does have a handful of expected movies coming out in 2023, including The Killer with David Fincher.

Other recognizable names in the movie include Elisabeth Moss (The Handmaid's Tale), Will Arnett (Arrested Development), Luke Hemsworth (Westworld), Rhys Darby (Our Flag Means Death) and Taika Waititi is slated to have a cameo.

The rest of the cast includes Oscar Knightley, David Fane, Beulah Koale, Lehi Falepapalangi, Semu Filipo, Uli Latukefu, Rachel House, Kaimana, Chris Alosio and Angus Sampson.

Kaimana in Next Goal Wins (Image credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Searchlight Pictures)
Oscar Knightley and Michael Fassbender in Next Goal Wins (Image credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Searchlight Pictures)
Michael Fassbender and Kaimana in Next Goal Wins (Image credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Searchlight Pictures)

Next Goal Wins trailer

The trailer for Next Goal Wins has not been released. Once it's available we'll add it here.

Taika Waititi movies

Taika Waititi behind the camera on Next Goal Wins (Image credit: Hilary Bronwyn Gayle/Searchlight Pictures)

We've mentioned many of the movies that Taika Waititi has directed, but the New Zealand-born director got his career started in his home country with some highly-acclaimed indie movies that are worth checking out. He also has directed a number of episodes for TV shows, including Flight of the Concords, The Inbetweeners, What We Do in the Shadows, The Mandalorian and Our Flag Means Death.

Focusing on movies though, here is his full list of feature directing credits:

  • Eagle vs Shark (2007)
  • Boy (2010)
  • What We Do in the Shadows (2014)
  • Hunt for the Wilderpeople (2016)
  • Thor: Ragnarok (2017)
  • Jojo Rabbit (2019)
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)

Waititi is not slowing down either, as he’s been in talks to direct a Star Wars movie, an adaptation of Akira and Tower of Tower, based on the Disney World ride.

(Image credit: Searchlight Pictures)
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