Santiago Munez (Kuno Becker) and his family flee Mexico for the US where they settle in Los Angeles. Santiago's father works hard as a labourer to support his family of two boys. Santiago also works hard in two jobs, helping his father and working in a kitchen, while pursuing his love of football. As an adolescent, while playing with his local team Los Americanos Jovenes, Santiago is spotted by Glen Foy (Stephen Dilane), a former English football player and team scout for Newcastle United. He instantly recognises that Santiago has a natural ability and invites him to England to try out for his old team.
Santiago's father refuses to give his permission, believing that Santiago's future lies elsewhere. His grandmother (who has raised the boys since their mother left them), however, is much more supportive and encourages Santiago to follow his dreams. Thus Santiago arrives in England where Glen Foy takes him under his wing. He soon learns, though, that playing football in rain and mud is a quite different game from what he's used to and he fails to impress the coach or the team manager. Faced with having to return home to the US, Santiago is helped in an unexpected manner by high flying team member, Gavin Harris (Alessandro Nivola). Gavin can also see Santiago's potential and gets him reinstated into the reserves team.
Gavin is a wild boy, however, who loves parties and women and is a bad influence on Santiago. Nonetheless Santiago remains true to his roots and prefers the company of his unpretentious girlfriend, Nurse Roz Harrison (Anna Friel). Santiago's football skills become well recognised, and he eventually gets to live his dream when he plays in a finals match for Newcastle United.
Family tension; casual sex
The only violence in this movie is on the football field, which does get quite rough at times. Santiago is shown slipping and falling heavily in the mud on several occasions. He also grabs another player by the collar on one occasion.
Content that may disturb children
There are a few minor incidents that could disturb very young children:
- When the family flees from Mexico, they are nearly caught by a border patrol.
- Santiago's father dies of a heart attack, and he is shown lying dead on the ground.
There is nothing in this movie that would scare children over the age of 8.
There are several sexual references in this movie. For example:
- Gavin wakes up in bed with two scantily clad women.
- One of the players tells Santiago that his sister thinks he looks like Antonio Banderas. But, he says, 'If you shag her I'll kill you'.
- Two women are shown sleeping together on a sofa.
Alcohol, drugs and other substances
There are many scenes that show drinking of alcohol and cigarette-smoking at pubs, clubs, parties and functions.
Nudity and sexual activity
Gavin takes Santiago to a party where there are several women in a bedroom, dressed only in underwear. He pushes Santiago onto the bed with the women where they start to undress him. A newspaper reporter photographs the event and prints it in the papers.
This movie contains some mild coarse language.
Ideas to discuss with your children
Goal! is the life story of Santiago Munez who comes from humble beginnings and rises to great fame in his chosen field of football. It's an uplifting story that will appeal to older children as well as to adults, even those not interested in sport. Santiago's persistence and strong moral fibre will make him a good role model for boys.
The main message in the movie is to follow your dreams and to be persistent even when it seems difficult. You might like to talk with your child about some of the values presented, such as: determination, persistence, loyalty, encouragement, unpretentiousness, genuineness and respect. You could also discuss the consequences of drinking to excess and engaging in casual sex.