The MLS season has already gone into the first two months of their 2018 season and when many are expecting a break during the World Cup, we already know that the upcoming summer will not have any fun, as the United States failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia.
But as we already know the World Cup will be televised on Fox channels nationally as they spent a lot of money to earn the broadcasting rights and show it to every single soccer fan in the country. But before the World Cup begins Fox Sports will be showing a five part series called Phenoms as they look into the lives of the players in different positions on the field.
They will be looking into the Goalkeepers, the Defenders, The Playmakers, the Creators and finally the Attackers as they chose many from around the World and their respective countries. I was invited to watch the goalkeeper episode on display at the famous Tribeca Film Festival in New York City on Wednesday, April 25th
It was very intriguing and wonderful to watch these Keepers going thru the motions of how to prepare for a match, recovering from an injury, hoping to be transferred to a different club from a different country, earning your starting position back after losing it and of course transferring from one club to another within the same country.
The journey of these four keepers was amazing and following the lives of Stoke City’s Jack Butland from England, Alphonse Areola of Paris Saint-Germain from France, Aleksander Selikhov who started at FC Amkar Perm then transferred to his childhood club FC Spartak Moscow of Russia and finally Gastón Guruceaga from Peñarol of Uruguay.
Butland’s story was getting thru an injury during an international friendly at Germany, Areola lost his starting job to the back up at PSG till he won it back. Selikhov was given a chance to perform with a small club, but when he improved his childhood side made the deal to transfer him back home, for Guruceaga he was looking to transfer out of Uruguay and perform in Europe either in Italy or Spain.
These four keepers showed their hearts and souls going thru the motions of their situations and while they spoke in their native languages (subtitles were used for the American audience) it was very exciting to see what they were going thru and their loved ones going along for the ride.
At the end of the film there was a Q & A session with the producers, directors and Editors who joined their subjects and were very energetic about following them around in their native countries and the clubs they were tied to. Rachel Bonnetta of Fox Sports Digital was the MC for this impressive list of people that took the time and their energy to create these episodes.
The list of people involved in this project from left to right in three photos.
Series Creative Director: Chris Perkel, Producer: Arbi Pedrossian, Co-Producer: Laura Hernandez
Director: Jeff Zimbalist, Executive Producer & Former Ajax, Chelsea & Netherlands International Right Back Mario Melchiot, Director: Michael Zimbalist
Producer & Editor Thomas Verrette & Executive Producer: David Worthen Brooks
But who came up with this idea to do these types of films? “We had a Sunday afternoon game. Somebody came up with a great idea of asking Mario, (Melchiot) I thought it was a stupid idea because he is an impressionable old man.” Said David Worthen Brooks.
He came and I was overruled and that happens a lot in this process, he came along and started playing and started showing us what a professional is like, which led to a conversation about not just what happens on the pitch but also what it’s like to live a life of a professional footballer & that’s where the idea of the film came from.”
Then Mario spoke and discussed about the documentary Hoop Dreams. “I think when I joined them it wasn’t supposed to be fun and I didn’t think I would enjoy it because now I’m feeling good about myself, then we started to talk about hoop dreams and that was one of the inspirations where we came from.” Said Melchiot.
“Then he (David) sent me home with some homework and watched hoop dreams then we can talk again, I went home, saw it and then I got excited about it. So the next thing you know we start talking some more and how about we do this but in our own way and that’s how it began.”
For those of you that are interested in seeing what these episodes of Phenoms are all about the dates, times and station will be added to the bottom of this report, but on a personal level I was amazed at what goes on with the lives of these goalkeepers and how they prepare for whatever comes at them in this profession of stopping a goal from being converted.
But if there is going to be a sequel to this Phenoms documentary and if they do decide to look at American Goalkeepers then I would love for them to pick Luis Robles of the New York Red Bulls and I informed the production crew of his thirteen save night down in Mexico against Club Tijuana during the 2018 CONCACAF Champions League.
PHENOMS TV Schedule:
Friday, May 25
8:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 1 / Attackers, FOX
9:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 2 / Defenders, FOX
Sunday, May 27
8:30 PM ET/PT – Episode 1 / Attackers, FS1
9:30 PM ET/PT – Episode 2 / Defenders, FS1
Friday, June 1
9:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 3 / Goalkeepers, FOX
Sunday, June 3
11:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 3 / Goalkeepers, FS1
Friday, June 8
8:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 4 / Playmakers, FOX
9:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 5 / Creators, FOX
Saturday, June 9
10:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 4 / Playmakers, FS1
11:00 PM ET/PT – Episode 5 / Creators, FS1