Next Goal Wins: Release date, trailer, cast, plot, & more

Michael Fassbender coaches a soccer team in Next Goal WinsSearchlight Pictures

Here’s everything we know about Next Goal Wins from its release date, trailer, cast, plot, and more.

From the brilliant mind of Taika Waititi, the director of JoJo Rabbit and Thor: Ragnarok, comes a movie that will appeal to the soccer fan hidden in all of us.

If you’re a fan of Ted Lasso, the Apple+ comedy about an American football coach who’s recruited to coach a British soccer team despite having zero experience, then Next Goal Wins should be on your must-watch list of 2023.

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From its release date, trailer, cast, and plot, here’s everything we know about Next Goal Wins.

Next Goal Wins release date: When is it out?

Next Goal Wins is released on November 17, 2023.

Waititi took up the dual role of director and screenwriter on this film, which is not a new feat for him. As for his co-writer, he tapped Ian Morris to help with the script. Morris is best known for creating The In-betweeners, a British coming-of-age teen series.

Next Goal Wins was originally filmed years ago, but saw its release date changed several times. It was originally supposed to premiere on April 21, 2023, but then it was moved back to September 22, 2023 before Searchlight Pictures settled on the new date of November 17, 2023. The delays were seemingly caused by the global shutdown and an unfortunate scandal that slowed production.

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Is there a Next Goal Wins trailer?

The trailer for Next Goal Wins debuted yesterday at CinemaCon. Check it out below:

Set to the earworm song that is ABBA’s Take a Chance On Me, the trailer shows off the film’s feel-good spirit and how the message Waititi is trying to convey is one of teamwork.

Waititi is well-known for his knack for creating up-lifting underdogs stories; he is credited for single-handedly morphing the Thor movies from bland to innovative. So, it’s no surprise that those traits can be found in the film’s trailer.

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Next Goal cast: Who’s in it?

The cast of Next Goal Wins is a mix of well-known actors and fresh faces. There is a notable change to the cast that came due to an unfortunate scandal that broke during filming. Check out the full cast list below:

  • Michael Fassbender as Thomas Rongen
  • Elizabeth Moss as Gail
  • Oscar Knightly as Tavita
  • Will Arnett as Alex Magnussen
  • Rachel House as Ruth
  • Kaimana as Jaiyah Saelua
  • Kaitlyn Dever as Nicole
  • Uli Latukefu as Nicky Salapu
  • David Fane as Ace
  • Beulah Koale as Daru

Will Arnett was not originally supposed to be in Next Goal Wins as the role was being played by Armie Hammer. However, Deadline reported that Arnett had been tapped to take over Hammer’s role through reshooting his scenes. They also explained that Arnett’s role was expanded to be a bit bigger while Hammer’s original scenes were more of a cameo.

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Next Goal Wins is just one of the projects Hammer was dropped from after texts alleging that the actor admitted to be a “100% cannibal” were made public by an anonymous Instagram account. On top of the graphic and violent messages alleged to be sent by Hammer, a woman stepped forward to claim that he sexually assaulted her in 2017. All of these allegations led to Hammer to be dropped from this film, the Paramount+ series The Offer, which was about the making of The Godfather, and the rom-com Shotgun Wedding, which also starred Jennifer Lopez.

However, on a happier note, Waititi casted Kaimana, a fa’afafine or non-binary person, to play Jaiyah Saelua, the first non-binary player to compete in a men’s FIFA World Cup qualifier. A fa’afafin is a person who does not identify as male or female; it’s considered as a third gender in Samoan culture and is often referred to as transgender or non-binary.

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During an interview with Variety, Waititi said that he never considered casting a cis-gender actor for this role. “It was vital,” he explained, “There was no way we would have approached it in any other way.” Waititi also expressed that the New Zealand and Polynesia’s fa’afafine community are an “accepted part of the culture and of life,” so he wanted to make sure they were respected as a people. Kaimana, who uses one name, will make their acting debut in this film.

Next Goal Wins plot: What is it about?

Next Goal Wins is based on a documentary of the same name that follows a down-on-their-luck American Samoa soccer team.

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After being fired from his job as the United States U20 manager, Thomas Rongen (Fassbender) is sent to American Samoa where he is tasked to turn around a soccer team that hasn’t scored a single goal. The film takes place after the soccer team’s infamous 31-0 FIFA loss in 2001 to Australia. 

While the film does follow the events of the documentary, Waititi was sure to put a cheeky disclaimer at the beginning of the trailer that reads, “Based on a true story…that pretty much actually happened.” Next Goal Wins is sure to be the best feel-good story of 2023!

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That’s everything we know about Next Goal Wins, but we’ll be sure to update this page with more announcements and trailers as they roll out. In the meantime, check out our other upcoming movie and TV hubs below:

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