Goals for Girls: Empowering Girls and Women through Soccer/Football in Argentina

A new documentary shows how girls from impoverished neighborhoods in Argentina are busting stereotypes and expectations and finding their power through soccer.

On their website, the filmmakers say:

Already, Goals for Girls has begun to change the lives of its protagonists, and  it can help change the lives of girls around the world. There are almost no documentaries about female soccer, and few documentaries are aimed at motivating young people to affect positive change. Goals for Girls is the Hoop Dreams of female soccer, but instead of focusing on financial dreams it will show how sport can help girls overcome incredible odds, teaching the value of responsibility and teamwork. Our documentary does not portray young women as victims, but as active participants to change the world around them, one match at a time.

For more about the film and an interview with the author about a further initiative to enable girls and their families to go to the theatre to see the film, go here.

And to give you a sneak preview, here’s the trailer:

9 thoughts on “Goals for Girls: Empowering Girls and Women through Soccer/Football in Argentina

  1. There was a good documentary on the growth of the U.S. women’s soccer team, which won the 1999 World Cup. Here is a description from worldsoccertalk.com “Released in 2005, this documentary traces the USA’s women’s soccer program back to the 1980s. The film’s climax is the 1999 Women’s World Cup, with stories told by players, journalists and even American politicians. The documentary gives incite into the women’s soccer program, and will give many women’s soccer fans a view into one of the biggest American sports stories of the 1990s. This is a very moving documentary that will have you crying your eyes out at the sheer challenges the women face and overcome. Highly recommended.”

  2. “Mujeres con Pelotas” is a way better title than “Goals for Girls”!

    But I really want to see it. Does anyone know if it’s out yet, or anything about how I could watch it? I would also try to get a screening for our town’s kids soccer clubs, if it’s not expensive.

  3. I think it’s out in a limited way at film festivals right now. You can contact the filmmakers to inquire about screenings. info@goalsforgirlsthemovie.org I agree that it’s a great idea to bring it in for kids soccer clubs. I’d like to screen at on campus too and make it a public event that anyone can attend.

  4. It’s a shame that they didn’t just translate the original title and call it “Women with Balls”; I agree with slideraway that “Goals for Girls” is an inferior title. Though for some reason I initially read the first word as Goats and wasn’t sure what to expect. Liked the trailer, though.

  5. It’s not all good news. There are serious question about head and brain injuries that can result from soccer. Note that there are questions, and not the data and lawsuits that are arising with other sports, such as football and boxing. But then the fact that soccer is the most popular sport in the world might be leading researchers to moderate their claims.

    There may be a bottomline message: examine carefully the pastimes of the patriarchy before joining in on them.

    Some references:

    http://www.monash.edu.au/miri/research/reports/muarc125.html

    http://www.einstein.yu.edu/news/releases/915/frequent-soccer-ball-heading-may-lead-to-brain-injury/

    http://www.webmd.com/fitness-exercise/news/20111129/heading-soccer-ball-linked-to-brain-injury

  6. OMG, Anne, surely you have to begin development projects where people are motivated to engage in them! In my opinion, the benefits of using soccer to build structures of empowerment outweigh the risks of concussion (ACL injury is another risk, of course). You should see what people are doing using soccer for development all over the world. It is a way bring education and resources of all kinds to communities. Yes, Chomsky argues that sport is a distraction from the real issues and promotes submission to authority, but that is simplistic (not that Chomsky himself meant it in a blanket way) and speaks mainly to the huge sporting events and professionalization of sport. I work closely with a group in Kenya that is doing amazing things in an area that struggles from food insecurity and AIDS: http://www.beyondsportworld.org/member/view/158/SOCIETY%20EMPOWERMENT%20PROJECT%20(SEP)
    This is not simply a pastime of the patriarchy.

  7. Sally, interesting, challenging remarks. Here’s my worry: many people around the world are ignorant of the roles the brain plays. In the West this is still very new and incomplete knowledge, and in fact much more research is needed. But it is very possible that ‘heading’ in soccer can leave some players unable to be fully functioning adult workers. Perhaps worse, the evidence that mild trauma to the young brain adds to a cognitive decline in ageing looks pretty good. (See http://www.frontiersin.org/Aging_Neuroscience/10.3389/fnagi.2013.00041/abstract)

    So I’m not saying we know much yet, but there are serious questions.

    I don’t agree that one has to begin development projects where people are motivated to engage in them, though that sounds extremely plausible. But the problem is that some very urgent problems can’t wait for the interests to develop. The person I mention in comments on the famous women trained as philosophers was the UN director for the program on AIDS in the developing world. And the director for women in the developing world. In both areas, there is an urgent need for change in practices and positions that most people are rather disinclined to make. An example: AIDS orphans live a horrible life with starvation and other kinds of neglect. (I remember Philippa Foot being startled and unhappy at Elizabeth’s maintaining that developing drugs which prevent the transmission of hiv to fetuses in infected women sounds good to us, but in fact that alone will lead to many more starving orphans.) The only feasible alternative as things are now is for the community to care for them, but for many that is not a custom at all. Elizabeth has spent months going from village to village, among other things, trying to change perspectives on such issues.

    Patriarchy: I don’t like talking in such terms, but it seemed useful. I think I’ve discussed the underlying issues in every school my gentle son attended before Reed. As in responding to teachers who say things like “You better get this boy on the football field by 4th grade or he’ll have a hard time passing himself off as a boy in this school.” I expect sports which have been nearly exclusive male until very recently to value competition and ranking. And so taking risks, having a strongly evaluative attitude to the rules, etc. Such attitudes and practices can easily make the sport involve more injurous actions. When a man slows down in a marathon to help someone else, it literally makes international headlines.

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