Year:  2022

Director:  Janet Merewether

Rated:  M

Release:  November, 2022

Distributor: Screen Culture

Running time: 85 minutes

Worth: $12.00
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For committed soccer fans, this might touch some heartstrings ...

For committed soccer fans, this might touch some heartstrings ...

Given that football/soccer is one of the most popular sports in Australia in terms of active participants, it is surprising that it does not get more profile/attention. Glancing through the daily paper in the old media for example, offers scant coverage in comparison to Rugby League. Maybe all this will change – at least temporarily – now that the national team has made its way into the World Cup again. It might also be good timing publicity-wise for Janet Merewether’s sometimes sweet little documentary about fledgling young players from a local club.

Sydney Olympic is a little club with big ambitions. To be fair, it has produced a few stars who have gone on to the national stage. Mostly though, it is run by the same bunch of (mostly Mediterranean) dads and mums who were around when soccer used to be known (affectionately) as the ‘wog game’.

Merewether structures her film around a youth squad of 10-11 years old boys at the club who are preparing for a tour of Europe. This is a big deal for the boys, and they are endearingly revved up at the chance of playing overseas. However, when they get there and are regularly thumped by similar squads in Germany and other countries, they are served with a reality check. Much talk throughout of how the Europeans have a much more professional attitude, better training facilities, and more actual career paths for the very few that could go on to have a professional career. We could ‘raise our game’ if there was the money and the will to do it. We can’t just rely on the Lowy family funds.

The film isn’t very strong on interesting soccer footage, and it relies on talking heads to pad out the story. The boys themselves are a bit too young to offer much in the way of insightful commentary about the situation. Perhaps for reasons of budget, the director not only occupies all the main functions (directing, writing etc) but also delivers a somewhat workpersonlike voice-over commentary.

For committed soccer fans, this might touch some heartstrings, others might do better to buy a subscription service for the big comp that is coming up in a few weeks. Go the Socceroos?

Find out where O-LYM-PIC: Football Dreams is playing near you.