Show follows the U.S. Men’s National Team as they prepare for the 2014 FIFA World Cup
Downloadable photos via ESPN Images
ESPN will premiere a new series, “Inside: US Soccer’s March to Brazil,” this spring focusing on the U.S. Men’s National Soccer Team as they prepare for the upcoming 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. The six episode documentary series from ESPN Films, the production group behind 30 for 30, will air weekly for five consecutive weeks beginning on May 13 (full schedule to be announced) with a finale airing in June. Episodes will also air on ABC following their ESPN premieres.
“Inside: US 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 they 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: US 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 team 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 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 US Team under Klinsmann.
Bennett says, “Since 1994, I have watched with wonder as the US team’s profile has risen in this country after every World Cup. 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 ESPNFC and ESPN.com.
ESPN Inc.’s 2014 FIFA World Cup in the United States
The 2014 FIFA World Cup will be ESPN’s eighth World Cup and most comprehensive presentation to date. ESPN, ESPN2 and ABC will combine to air all 64 matches live and in high definition (June 12 – July 13, 2014), and WatchESPN will show all ESPN and ESPN2 games. ESPN3, ESPN’s live multi-screen sports network available in more than 85 million homes, will present matches live in multiple languages (other than English and Spanish).
Additionally, ESPN studio programming including World Cup Tonight, ESPN FC, editions of SportsCenter, as well as the pre-game, halftime and post-game shows – and ESPN Deportes’ game-around-the-game programs will originate from the company’s production headquarters throughout the month at Clube dos Marimbás on the southern tip of the famed Copacabana Beach in Rio de Janeiro.
ESPN garnered more than 40 industry awards, including three Sports Emmys, for its presentation of 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa – more accolades than any single event in the company’s history.