Welcome, Soccer Movie Mom!

Wednesday, 29 April 2020

Welcome as a new member of Brot & Spiele e.V., @soccermoviemom! How did get to know about Brot & Spiele? 

Read the German translation of the interview here.

I only found out about Brot & Spiele when 11mm recently tweeted about it. I think the first football film festival I ever heard of was in 2011, which was the Kicking & Screening Festival. After that, I think I first heard about the 11mm festival around mar-2015. 

In the internet you’re know as “SoccerMovieMom”. What is it, that you’re doing as “SoccerMovieMom”?

Soccermoviemom.com is a website of over 300 reviews of soccer movies (football films). As you well know, there are many more than that, and not counting short films, I have found at least 600 more football titles out there for me to review. However, it is very difficult to find these films in the USA. In case you don’t know what is a “Soccer Mom”... Starting in the 1990s, “Soccer Mom” was a popular term for describing a market segment of female consumers or voters who drove their kids to soccer practice and helped out with games and clubs. So for my website, my son suggested i stick the word Movie in-between, to come up with Soccer Movie Mom. In the USA, we use the Mom term mostly with minor sports, such as Hockey Moms, Skate Moms, Dance Moms, but I don’t think we use it for the major sports of basketball, baseball, or football. It’s probably because the minor sports are run with a lot of Mom power but the major sports are run by Dads.

Are you just interested in soccer movies or also in the game itself? Is there a team you follow or a stadium you go to regularly?

I’m really a fan of the game. The movie thing is an off-shoot of that, although I’ve always enjoyed sports movies. But the really good thing about watching soccer movies is the opportunity to learn about other cultures. Growing up in Los Angeles, I was an eager but not very good athlete. As an adult, my introduction to soccer came when I volunteered to referee for my 8 year old daughter’s recreational team.  I was only a mild fan of the game until I started playing at age 49. I played in a lot of tournaments for adults and seniors. One of my greatest joys on the pitch was being able to play on recreational teams with my adult daughter! Once I started playing, I became a soccer fanatic.  Playing also made me a better referee! This past winter I was still able to referee high school games, which is challenging but a joy to still be able to do at age 68. My husband and I have refereed together for years. Unfortunately, I am a terrible soccer player and now I am too easily injured, so I haven’t played for several years. The past 12+ years, we have been season ticket holders of the San Jose Earthquakes. We also attend USWNT (US Women’s National Team) and USMNT (US Men’s National Team) games. 

Running a blog on soccermovies is a special hobby. How did the idea to do so develop?

Back in 2011, I was too injured to play soccer, and at the same time I got a Netflix account. So I decided to watch all the soccer movies on Netflix and then post about them on BigSoccer. This lead me to start searching for additional sources of soccer movies. Once I got to 50 reviews, I decided to store them all on my own website. Since I am a retired software engineer, this also gave me a reason to learn Wordpress. The more soccer movies I watched, the more I wondered how and why a movie was made. I started doing more research to figure this out, and sometimes that is a major part of my review. I also tried to understand the business side, but I think there is no understanding that. ? It’s kind of terrible how much time it can take to watch movies, research and review them, and maintain a wordpress site. Good thing I am retired. And it gives me some purpose during this pandemic.

Which role does “soccer culture” (or as we would say “football culture“) play in the US? Are there interesting projects people in Europe should know about?

America has a small and fragmented soccer culture. We don’t have clubs with history, that have been around for 50-100 years. MLS is run as a business by men who own NFL teams. Except for a few of the newer clubs, MLS club owners have had to manufacture their fan groups. For example, very few people are fans because their parents were fans. Also, when I listen to soccer fan podcasts, I am shocked at how many fans discovered soccer because they played FIFA video games.  Soccer is only the #4 or #5 sport in the USA, and unfortunately, Americans tend to only be interested in winning teams. So when the USMNT failed to qualify for WC 2018, it really impacted the US mens fan base. I think the American culture of winning, money and celebrity is why the US Women right now have had a profound influence on topics like equal pay, sexism, LGBT rights, and diversity. It will be a terrible shame if the pandemic causes the womens league NWSL to lose their platform. The USWNT need that league and an Olympic championship in order to stay in the media. As far as projects, maybe European football fanatics would be interested in what is happening with academies in the USA. USSoccer appears to have abdicated the academy system to MLS, which I think is a mistake. We’ll know for sure by WC 2026 and WWC 2027.

Thank’s a lot and again: Welcome to Brot & Spiele e.V.!