CHICAGO (March 9, 2014) – ESPN will premiere a new series “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil” this spring, focusing on the U.S. Men’s National Team as it prepares for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The multi-part documentary series from ESPN Films, the production group behind 30 for 30, will air weekly beginning May 13 (full schedule to be announced), and episodes will also air on ABC following their ESPN premieres.
“Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil,” produced by Jonathan Hock and Roger Bennett, will provide a never-before-seen perspective from inside the training camp of the Men’s National Team as the players prepare for the most anticipated sporting event in the world.
Led by head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, a World Cup champion as a player and former coach of the German National Team, the U.S. is coming off the most successful year in its history, and now the group of experienced veterans and inspired young talent will face a colossal challenge after being drawn into the tournament’s “Group of Death” against Ghana, Portugal and Germany.
“We know there will be enormous interest surrounding this team as the World Cup approaches, so we’re focused on providing an in-depth look at how the players deal with the stakes of preparing for soccer’s biggest stage,” said Connor Schell, VP and executive producer, ESPN Films and Original Content. “The breadth and variety of content offerings across ESPN platforms leading up to and during the tournament will give soccer fans a chance to feel close to the action, and ‘Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil’ is intended to capture the mental and physical demands of the U.S. players giving viewers a truly unique perspective.”
The series will follow the coaches and players, including Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Michael Bradley, as they endure a demanding preparation camp and play three international matches before their departure for Sao Paulo.
“We have always said that the National Team should represent the culture of the country, and the fans play a big part in that,” said Klinsmann. “We are going to work extremely hard to get this group prepared to do something special in Brazil, and we are excited to work with ESPN to allow our supporters the opportunity to see the tremendous effort our players and staff will put in to get ready.”
Committed to challenging the team against the best in the world, Klinsmann has led the USA to historic results since taking over as head coach in 2011. During the past two-and-a-half years, the U.S. has won a record-setting 12 straight games at home, put together a 12-game winning streak – the longest in program history – captured the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup title, and finished in first place in qualifying for the 2014 FIFA World Cup.
Hock and Bennett make a creative team uniquely suited for this project. Hock is an eight-time Emmy Award winner whose contributions to ESPN's 30 for 30 series include “The Best That Never Was” and “Survive and Advance.” Bennett is a writer and a broadcaster with “Men in Blazers” and ESPN who has chronicled the evolution of the U.S. Men’s National Team under Klinsmann.
“Since 1994, I have watched with wonder as the U.S. National Team’s profile has risen in this country after every World Cup,” said Bennett. “The American players are hungry not just for victory, but for respect. That quest gives Jonathan and me an opportunity to capture true human drama, on the pitch and off.”
ESPN will also produce additional original scenes from the series to air across SportsCenter and other ESPN platforms including ESPN FC and ESPN.com.