Football is a global game and right across the world people of all ages are participating in the beautiful game. In an attempt to document this Vice, in partnership with EA Sports and in conjunction with the release of FIFA 11, travelled the world to film 11 football stories. On his journey Santiago Stelley, the producer of the We Are 11 series, found how the passion for football was expressed in different ways around the globe. Below is an interview with Santiago who simply felt there were many great football stories to tell…
What made you decide to embark on this extraordinary journey in the first place?
We’ve been wanting to create a soccer series for at least 3 or 4 years now. A lot of us here at Vice are big soccer fans and we always felt that there were so many great soccer stories to tell, and more importantly, we felt that soccer itself was such a great medium through which we could tell bigger stories about the world. Then, a few months ago, we were speaking with our friends of over at EA and he mentioned their upcoming game – FIFA 11 – and it all just clicked. We immediately knew that this was the perfect opportunity for all of us to finally translate that passion we shared for the game into a series of short docs. We were all eager to make this happen, we had the right partners, and we had the right stories, so we went for it.
What made you choose these specific 11 people / places?
Many of these were stories we wanted to shoot forever, others were pitched to us by our international offices. We were looking to document how the passion for football was expressed in different ways around the globe. Although the sport may be more deeply rooted somewhere like Brazil than somewhere like Japan, we felt that it was important to show how the Japanese had taken to the sport and expressed their passion for the game through an art form as Japanese as manga.
Could you highlight any of the individual experiences being particularly memorable?
For me one of the most memorable experiences was attending the Corinthian’s game with Gavioes da Fiel in Sao Paulo. I grew up in Madrid, Spain, a few blocks from Real Madrid’s stadium, I’ve been to many matches and my entire life I’ve watched the fans come and go from the stadium twice a week. In Spain we like to think of ourselves as very passionate football fans but what I saw in Sao Paulo was full on insanity. The Gavioes celebrated for hours before and after the match, and it wasn’t a particularly important match. And even when they lost, they just kept singing. I was very impressed.
Another highlight for me was meeting the creators of Captain Tsubasa. I’m not sure how familiar American audiences will be with this cartoon, but growing up in Europe in the 80s and 90s this was the show that everyone ran home from school to watch. This includes me.
As 2010 comes to an end, what do you think the year will be remembered for football-wise?
Well, as I mentioned, I’m Spanish, so I will always remember 2010 as the year that we finally won a World Cup.
Were there many other things you wanted to feature? If so have you thought about incorporating them into another series?
Yes, there were so many stories that we wanted to include in the series but simply couldn’t get to this time. We have an extremely long list of great stories we’re hoping to eventually, including stories in Mexico, Angola, Uzbekistan, Germany, etc. If you think about it we barely covered any ground at all, the world is big place and most everyone living has some sort of great soccer anecdote. The truth is we could keep shooting this series forever and never get bored.
Football in 2010 will ultimately be remembered for the World Cup, but it isn’t one that many football fans will look back on with fondness. Manchester City’s Nigel de Jong stole the headlines in the final for his karate kick on former Liverpool midfielder Xabi Alonso, while big players like Barcelona’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Wayne Rooney failed to come to the party and the infamous Jubalani ball took much of the flack. However the 2010 World Cup in South Africa will be remembered for one thing: The Vuvuzela.
EA SPORTS FIFA SOCCER 11 and VBS.TV bring you to Johannesburg, South Africa to get the real story on the man who claims to have invented the vuvuzela. In this first episode of the eleven-part “We Are 11” series, you’re introduced to a local Johannesburg legend, Saddam Maake. Wearing giant neon yellow sunglasses, he’ll take you on a tour of his house, his shrine to all things Bafana Bafana & Kaiser Chiefs FC.