By Michelle GARDNER, Megan PARK


Social issues - Production 2016

How a team of young refugees in America's heartland is sharing common ambitions to overcome differences .

    • Year of production
    • 2016
    • Genres
    • Social issues, Documentary, True Story
    • Countries
    • USA
    • Languages
    • Budget
    • 0 - 0.3 M$
    • Director(s)
    • Michelle GARDNER, Megan PARK
    • Producer(s)
    • Megan PARK (Little Sprig Productions), Michelle GARDNER (Little Sprig Productions)
    • Synopsis
    • Common Goals: The Language of Soccer is a full-length feature documentary about the Withrow University High School soccer team in Cincinnati, OH. Here, at this large urban high school where football and basketball reign supreme, is an extraordinary team that is comprised entirely of refugee and immigrant students. They come from 14 countries, have fled civil wars, genocides, extreme poverty, and famine. They live in far-flung neighborhoods around the city but find themselves bussed to this school in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Cincinnati because it has the resources to help international students succeed.

      The refugee crisis in the news triggers worldwide heartache and fear on a daily basis. Who are these people? What do they want? And ultimately— how can we help them? Despite being turned away at borders, tragic accidents, and treacherous conditions, desperate people continue to flee war-torn countries full of hope for a better life. Are the families of these children finding the lives they had envisioned? What did they endure to get here? This film will highlight the challenges faced by these kids—and their hard-won rewards. We will meet their families and get to know them better by coming to understand their goals and hopes for themselves and their children, and their dreams for a better future.

      Facelessness lies at the heart of the fear that the current refugee and immigrant crisis is generating. This film's goal is to put a face, a smile, a personality to the refugees, the immigrants, the people choosing to make this country home. Insight into these fun, sweet, eager, sincere young men will help promote understanding and compassion in a situation fraught with uncertainty. Common Goals: The Story of Soccer is unfolding in Cincinnati right now but mirrors what is happening all over the country and the world as more and more people are displaced. When we began this story in September 2016, the election provided an interesting backdrop to these stories. These stories have become even more relevant —more important—now.

      Like the refugee team that competed in the 2016 summer Olympics, these students have overcome unimaginable hardships. In spite of it all, they remain indomitable and optimistic and show us how easy it is to get along once we realize we all share common goals.