Good gosh, it took a long time to get that school year done with, yes? Now that summer officially here and the FIFA Women’s World Cup in France just around the corner, the conditions are perfect to go all in for soccer a go-go. If you have a soccer-crazy daughter like I do, then this list will be your go-to for summer road trips and family movie night.
I promise, these movies are worth putting your phone down and watching. Here’s the 411 on some of our all-time favorite movies (not just soccer movies) and more.
MY DAD IS A SOCCER MOM (2014)
(Recommended age: 8+)
This was a sleeper hit! We randomly found it, and laughed all the way through it. When an NFL footballer gets cut out of his team and cast aside, he decides to turn to his family and focuses his attention on encouraging his young daughter to play soccer. As a fish out of water, taking on more of the parenting duties than before he lost his job in sport, the titular Soccer Mom focuses on the blossoming relationship between father and daughter.
It’s a light and airy film that’s suitable for kids of all ages. It’s also full of relevant messages about commitment and family ties. All in all, there’s a lot to like about My Dad is a Soccer Mom, not least the silly jokes that will satisfy younger audience members. It shows girls being empowered by playing soccer, and that’s a message that’ll be sure to resonate with your daughter too.
THE BIG GREEN (1995)
(Recommended age: 7+)
All. Time. Favorite. In the Perot household. This is Bad News Bears on the pitch. This underdog tale from Walt Disney Pictures is a classic from the mid-90s but stands the test of time. It tells the story of a teacher who comes to Texas via England to help out a struggling school and its pupils. To say they are underachievers is a compliment. As part of her efforts to turn the school’s struggles around – and in a moment of desperation — she decides to teach them to play soccer and inadvertently creates a team that helps them to work together and succeed together.
The story is all about how much of a difference sport can make in the lives of young people. This ragtag bunch of kids were going nowhere fast until they learned to come together and work as a team. It helped them find success on the field and in other aspects of their young lives. It’s an innocent film that’s more than suitable for young audiences. And it’s dang funny.
ALEX AND ME (2018)
(Recommended age: 8+)
Alex and Me is a massively uplifting film about a girl who loves soccer and commits (in a subconscious way) to making her dreams come true. Girls will love this movie because Alex Morgan is in it, but you’ll love the message of perseverance and committing to goals. The young athlete at the heart of the story is a wanna-be soccer star but she’s not good enough to play on the team that she wants. She accidentally hits her head, and then starts to have visions of Alex Morgan personally coaching her. As she grows and learns lessons about being persistent in the face of adversity and pushing to succeed despite knockbacks, she moves closer to turner goals into reality. (This is a good one if your girl is in a slump.)
THOSE GLORY, GLORY DAYS (1983)
This soccer movie is about a group of girls who live in London and support Tottenham Hotspur Football Club. That Spurs team won the English Double in 1960/61 and we see these memories in flashbacks, while in the present (1980s), the grown up girls track down their 60s heroes. It’s a film about being obsessed with a sports team and it’s a quirky and comedic movie too.
Another benefit of this film? It offers a glimpse of what it was like to be a female soccer fan in the past. The characters struggle to make their families understand why they’re so obsessed with a male-dominated sport. Times have changed, of course, but it highlights that girls have as much right to love soccer as anyone else.
EARLY MAN (2018)
(Recommended age: 6+)
Nick Park is responsible for some of the finest animation movies in recent history, and Early Man is a recent example of that. The premise is rightfully bizarre, it combines a caveman story with a soccer story as two tribes in the Bronze Age unite to battle it out, in the form of soccer, against a common enemy. There’s a lot of fun and child-friendly humor here and your kids will love it. (SPOILER ALERT: the best player turns out to be the girl.)
One of the nice things about Early Man is that it focuses on the merits of teamwork and makes an effort to show that girls can contribute just as much as men on the soccer field, even way back in the Bronze Age! There’s plenty of slapstick humor to enjoy, as well as a cast of voice actors that do a truly fantastic job.
AIR BUD: WORLD PUP (2000)
(Recommended age: 5+)
This is the third installment of the Air Bud series, and many would argue that it’s the best of them all. It’s a fun-filled, super cute movie about a dog named Buddy and his owner Josh as they take to the soccer field and do everything they can to win the state soccer championship. Because it’s a Disney production, you know it’s family-friendly lovable, laughable throughout.
The best word to use to describe Air Bud: World Pup is wholesome. It’s fun for all the family and kids of all ages will enjoy it. Some of the humor is pretty silly but there’s nothing for parents to worry about here. There are some nice messages about teamwork and things like that. And the overall story is fun and entertaining throughout.
BEND IT LIKE BECKHAM (2002) (Recommended age: 13+)
Bend It Like Beckham is all about how girls playing soccer can be about adversity and parents learning to accept and support their kids, even if their wishes don’t align with their own. As you watch this, you’ll realize how far women’s soccer has evolved.
This is a film that’s best-suited to girls in their early teenage years because there are a few rude words and some themes relating to sexual orientation that are discussed. However, if your daughter is the right age, it’s something that they’ll get a lot out of and most likely enjoy a lot. It’s a captivating tale that carries great meaning.
SWITCHING GOALS (1999)
The twins grew up and took up soccer! Starring Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen in the lead roles, this family comedy is about a pair of identical twins, one of whom is a girly girl while the other is a tomboy who loves soccer. There are lots of comedic moments and our Full House favorites shine. No surprise, the two girls have to switch roles and that’s when the chaos of the plot begins to unfold.
There are lots of funny moments here and it’s sure to keep any soccer-obsessed girl interested for the 85-minute run time. The plot is light and easygoing, but there are some nice moments about the relationships kids have with their parents at this age and it’s ultimately enjoyable from start to finish.
What’s your favorite soccer movies? Let’s add them to the list!