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Once in a Lifetime: The Extraordinary Story of the New York Cosmos

April 16, 2012

I love playing soccer. I love watching soccer. I love listening to soccer podcasts (Men in Blazers) I love reading about soccer (How Soccer Explains the World, Soccernomics, The Beckham Experiment, Love and Blood and the World Cup).  Lastly, I love soccer movies and documentaries.

Once in a Lifetime is a breezy documentary about a slice of 1970s sports history. The doc centers around the The New York Cosmos that played in the now defunct North American Soccer League. They became a phenomenon that sold out stadiums and captured America’s attention during the 70s and early 80s. The Cosmos were loaded with some of the best players in the world. Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia dominated the league and accumulated many bawdy stories.

For instance, Tampa Bay’s blond bomber Rodney Marsh tells a story about how he had a limo loaded with Chivas and hookers waiting for Pele and Chinaglia in Tampa. New York lost the game the next day.

The doc was co-directed by John Dower and Paul Crowder. They load the film with contrasting interviews and wonderful stock footage. The biggest disappointment is that the directors couldn’t get Pele to contribute to the documentary. He would have added another personality to the eclectic mix. I love how the various egos guide you through the rise and fall of a genuine phenomenon that most people didn’t know existed

For those of you who complain that there is nothing on Netflix you need to check out some of the documentaries. 180 Degree South, Man on Wire, Senna and Step into Liquid are all beautiful docs that demand attention.

Watch this documentary. Learn something. Listen to Grantland’s  Men in Blazers

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