ESPN announces USMNT documentary series to debut in May

USMNT train in Panama


Ahead of this summer’s World Cup, ESPN will produce a five-part series on the U.S. Men’s National Team titled “Inside: U.S. Soccer’s March to Brazil.” The series, which debuts in May, will air weekly on ESPN and will offer fans a look into the preparations leading up to this summer’s tournament in Brazil.

ESPN, which also produce the acclaimed 30 for 30 series, will follow Jurgen Klinsmann, Clint Dempsey and company through training and a series of friendlies in the build up to the World Cup.

“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 of ESPN Films and Original Content, in a press release. “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 be produced by Jonathan Hock and Roger Bennett, the latter of whom is best known for his soccer work with “Men in Blazers” and his extensive coverage of the USMNT for ESPN.

“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.”

Fans will get to see the inner workings that go into preparing a top international side for the world’s biggest tournament, which is something Klinsmann is excited to offer American supporters.

“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.”

ESPN will supplement the series with original content to be aired on SportsCenter and, while the actual series will premiere May 13 on ESPN, with reruns to be aired on ABC.

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36 Responses to ESPN announces USMNT documentary series to debut in May

  1. Eric says:

    This is great news. Excellent exposure for the USMNT.

  2. John says:

    Great, I’m just going to get even more invested in this team and it’s going to end in tears haha

    • brian says:

      This was my first thought as well.

      • Expat4455 says:

        Mine too. I just wonder sometimes, from everything we have seen so far it is 3 and out in Brazil. And yes, I hope otherwise, but to me it would be a miracle.

        But yet ESPN is investing all this money in a series and are saying: “We know there will be ENORMOUS interest surrounding this team as the World Cup approaches. I mean, how does ESPN know that? What do they know that I don’t.

        Something is going on here.

        • Umlaut says:

          Not sure I follow. Are you talking like some kind of conspiracy? Or just that we’ll surprise people in the Cup?

          • Expat4455 says:

            Heck Umlaut, conspiracy, I haven’t given that a thought. It’s just a feeling, something is about to change things.
            Maybe I am just being optimistic or hopeful, or I don’t know, maybe grasping at straws.

          • AcidBurn says:

            Bob Bradley had 2 separate documentaries about getting Egypt to the World Cup and look how that worked out.

        • John says:

          The US qualifiers had there strongest numbers ever, and I’m sure the track traffic to stories on the ESPN website. They have all 3 matches so why not build up the story. However if you want to build on some conspiracy, think about how much MLS has invested in this team doing well this summer.

        • Luis Esco says:

          I think u are just overthinking it. They are probably seeing the trends and are expecting that interest in the USMNT for the World Cup will be at an all time high which shouldn’t be too surprising. Ratings in the US have been going up for MLS, USMNT, USWNT, Champions League, EPL, World Cup, etc

        • Ali Dia says:

          Bud I hear you. What struck me was the timing of the announcement, which was fortuitiously delivered immediately before my own announcement, confirming that I would be watching said documentary series, along with a support group consisting entirely of equally (and occasionally even more) paranoid US Soccer junkies who really actually just enable each other at every turn, with not a single documented case of “cure” or even a reduction in symptoms. We will spend hours evaluating the source material and building conclusions that will share the common thread of a total disconnection with anything that is observed the 270 (or more?) minutes that comprise the event, which in all but a few cases does not materially affect the relationships, income, life prospects, or (amazingly) country associated with our shared passion.

          Bring it on– I for one just cleared my calendar. Again.

  3. Expat4455 says:

    This is indeed good news for soccer in America. Something is going on here, I can feel it in the air. Something is about to break loose.

    You know, it reminds me of those teaser ad posters put up all over the place for sometimes months about a great product that is coming. But during those couple of months you don’t know what it is, but you know something good is coming.

  4. Bryan says:

    I don’t see a Chivas Fire thread so I’ll just post it here…. why was Boca put out to pasture with Gooch still getting looks at CB? Not that either should be on the plane but of the two I’d probably still take Boca. Maybe some of the behind the scenes footage can help us figure out our Coach’s decision making process better…

    • Bac says:

      I think it had to do more with the circumstances. Boca didn’t get called to the gold cup because he was just coming into a new team situation, and Gooch did..but got hurt, then Just got called in last week because we didn’t hardly have any central defenders playing in Europe.. I wouldn’t overthink it.

    • John says:

      Oguchi is actually 3 years younger for one.

      • 1st Time Caller says:

        And if not for that knee in earl 2010 (or late 2009:?) which he sadly never seemed to recover completely from, he would still be at the tailend of his prime and we’d be talking about him as we are Landycakes and DMB

  5. UclaBruinGreat says:

    If you guys haven’t read it, Roger Bennet’s multiple part series on the 1994 U.S. World Cup team on was awesome! I suggest you read it.

  6. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    can. not. wait.

  7. Louis Z says:

    Dempsey will be followed in ESPN special documentary? how is that going to work out when he doesn’t start? no wonder JK is so hard up on giving him all the playing time in the world to get out of his funk.

    • away goals says:

      Just trying to keep all the conspiracies around here straight. So in this one jk is basing his player selections on the focus of an espn documentary? Sounds plausible.

  8. atleticodemadridfan says:

    Truth is, we have little to no idea of what the final Brazil roster of the USMNT is actually capable of – there are a lot of factors that are going to come together for the first time. If Klinsman lives up to his expectations, the whole that is created in the crucible of the 3-4 matches leading up to the world cup, and in the combat of group stage, will be far greater than the sum of the parts.
    As long as you don’t get your hopes up unrealistically, you won’t be terribly disappointed if we go three and out – but as Mourinho has already stated in the press, “the US has the potential to create some problems in Brazil.”

    • away goals says:

      I just want to get to the germany game with a mathematical possibility to advance. Either way it’s a minimum of 3 soccer holidays in two weeks it’s pretty much the best.

  9. El Hombre says:

    Genuine interest from ESPN or just capitalizing commercially ?

    • AlexH says:

      I don’t think ESPN is capable of separating the two.

    • timothy says:

      ESPN is a business. If customers will buy it, they will produce it

      • Dude Bro says:

        Cmon man. You know you can do better than that. Dude was asking what that thesis was for choosing that particular product for that particular audience not a half-hearted preschool economics tautology. If you don’t have a thoughtful thesis then don’t waste the keystrokes.

  10. CamRahn Bay says:

    I wish HBO Sports would’ve done this.

    This is still going to be sick and I can’t wait to watch it!

    • Expat4455 says:

      ‘The Mexico friendly won’t so telling, It will be the opposite of the Ukraine one. Against Ulraine it was mostly European based players and against Mexico it will be mostly the U.S based players, It will be the 3 send-off friendlies that tell the tale and as it now stands we will probable see 3 different starting line-ups complete with many player position changes. It will be a cluster screw-up. and will not produce a sure starting line-up For the first game against Ghanal

      I don’t see how ESPN can state that there will be ENORMOUS interest in the lead-up the World Cup.But yet this is what they claiml

  11. CoMo says:

    @CamRahn………. Ive been saying the same for years and actually tried to email or contact HBO for SA2010 to get them involved in the USMNT and their lead up into the tournament. HBO Sports is honestly second to none with their series 24/7 or shows like HardKnocks and the in-depth look their shows give to the teams we love or events we crave. But regardless, like you said, it will be Suuuhiiiick and cannot wait to watch

  12. Goalscorer24 says:

    This filming makes me nervous for added distraction. Usually a lot of hype ends in a fizzle.

  13. Goalscorer24 says:

    Ok I want to talk about haircuts/facial hair and how it effects the US team players:

    -No beard Howard plays better then bearded Howard
    -Johnson needs to go back to blonde hair with a lightning bolt. That forward is awesome.
    -Goatee Jones is superior to non-goatee Jones.
    -Mustache Klejstan is the same as non-mustache Klejstan, irrelevant.