New ESPN E60 Follows Journey of Ukraine Men’s National Soccer Team
Wright Thompson Granted Unprecedented Access to Travel with Ukrainian Team During World Cup Qualifying; Visits Head Coach in War-Torn Capital of Kyiv
Remember the Blue & Yellow Debuts Sunday, Dec. 11, on ESPN and ESPN+
A new edition of ESPN E60 will present the inspiring story of the Ukraine Men’s National Soccer Team and its journey to try and play while its nation is at war. The one-hour Remember the Blue & Yellow will debut on Sunday, Dec. 11, at 5:30 p.m. ET on ESPN, available for on-demand streaming on ESPN+ after the initial airing.
On Feb. 23, 2022, the team was a month away from playing Scotland, with a trip to the 2022 FIFA World Cup on the line. The following day, their lives and the lives of their countrymen were changed forever when Russia invaded Ukraine, with catastrophic results. Many thousands have died, millions have been displaced, and incalculable damage has been done to Ukraine’s towns and cities.
It’s against this backdrop that the team – with a special exemption from the government of Ukraine – would reconvene in Slovenia in May. Leaving friends and family behind, manager Oleksandr Petrakov and his players embarked on a journey to qualify for the World Cup. They searched within for the resolve to play – and when they fell a goal short, to carry on.
Petrakov and his players drew inspiration from fellow Ukrainians at home and on the frontlines and kept playing games, kept taking the field. The team showed the world their country’s enduring spirit and commitment, and theirs is the story of how crisis and conflict reveal true character, in the moment and for all time.
E60’s Wright Thompson followed the team over the last six months, in nine different countries, including the embattled Ukrainian capital, Kyiv, where Thompson was granted unprecedented access to Petrakov. Additionally, E60 was with the team for its road trip in September and secured exclusive interviews with Andriy Yarmolenko, Ukraine’s captain and second all-time leading goal scorer, and Andriy Pavelko, the president of the Ukraine soccer federation.
Remember the Blue & Yellow was produced and directed by Russell Dinallo.
The multiplatform presentation will include a longform written piece by Thompson on ESPN.com, posting on the same day as the television debut. An excerpt from Remember the Blue & Yellow will be featured in the Outside the Lines segment in the noon edition of SportsCenter on Friday, Dec. 9, and that day’s edition of the ESPN Daily Podcast will further explore the story.
After the premiere on ESPN, the program will be available on ESPN+ and will re-air multiple times across ESPN platforms.
Media contacts: [email protected] and [email protected]